DVD-sniffing dog shuts down pirates

Malaysian raids net thousands of contraband units

Paddy, the Labrador trained to detect optical discs which the Motion Picture Association donated to the Malaysian government last year, led enforcement officers on a weekend operation to shut down the supply lines for pirated movie DVDs in the Malaysian state of Johore.

With the support of the Malaysian Federation Against Copyright Theft, representing the MPA, Malaysia's Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs conducted raids May 30 and 31, taking down six warehouses storing pirated products slated for export to Singapore.

On May 30, 20 enforcement officers from the MDTCA Johor Bahru and five officers from the K9 unit raided four premises at the Holiday Plaza, Johor Bahru, initially suspected to be burner labs. While no burners were recovered, these turned out to be warehouses used to store pirated DVDs of games and movies slated for dispatch to Singapore, a short ride away across the causeway linking the two countries.

A total of 19,000 copies of games, software and movies were discovered.

Post-raid investigations revealed that two of the targets were actively involved in exporting pirated DVDs to Singapore; packages were discovered with email orders from two Web sites that are now the subject of follow-up investigations.

On the following day, 15 enforcement officers together with the K9 unit raided another two targets. One was a large warehouse of pirated movie DVDs where more than 6,000 discs were seized. The other target was a delivery point for pirated DVDs to Singapore. Recent titles such as "Terminator Salvation," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "Angels & Demons" and "Star Trek" as well as the latest Malay movie titles were among the 10,000 titles seized.

"The government and MDTCA are taking the appropriate steps to address the proliferation of these warehouses and replicating operations of pirated optical discs. We are happy with the results and will be focusing more efforts especially on curbing the source of these pirates. Paddy and the K9 Unit's involvement in this raid was crucial in identifying the DVDs, which we later confirmed as pirated copies. We expect similar actions. This is a clear signal to the pirates that we will not waver in our efforts to shut them down" Mohd Roslan bin Mahayudin, director-general, enforcement department of the MDTCA, said.

"We are glad to hear that Paddy's skills are being put to good use against the large, organized network of pirates involved in exporting illegal pirated DVDs to Singapore," said Mike Ellis, president and managing director, Asia-Pacific for the MPA. "I congratulate the Malaysian authorities on tracking these syndicates who are using their territory as a base for illegal activities involving another country and reaffirm our commitment to supporting the Malaysian authorities in their efforts to shut them down."