Hong Kong gang convicted for piracy

Leader sentenced to 74 months; $1.1 mil in assets seized

HONG KONG -- A Hong Kong man Monday received a 74-month jail sentence for pirated film distribution -- the toughest-ever punishment handed out in the territory. Another man was locked up for 58 months.

Tang Wai-man and nine other members of a gang were convicted of various crimes relating to intellectual property theft and illegal distribution after being arrested in February 2007. They had their sentences increased by 30% under the provisions of Hong Kong's Organized & Serious Crimes Ordinance.

In addition, Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has seized and frozen HK$9 million (US$1.1 million) of assets related to the crimes and is now seeking action to confiscate the money.

"Protecting the creative and financial investment that goes into making and distributing movies is essential for the industry in Hong Kong," said Sam Ho, executive director and general manager of the International Federation Against Copyright Theft - Greater China.