Hong Kong Court Jails Pirates For Six and a Half Years

August 2004

Record Labels, Music Publishers

A Hong Kong court has passed jail sentences of six and a half years on two former directors of a Hong Kong-based company found guilty of involvement in a massive disc piracy operation. Tsoi Chung-wang (also known as Tsoi Kei-lung and Tsoi Tung-kei), and his wife, Ng Yee-nei (also known as Ng Kam-fung and Ng Yuk-yan Lili), both former directors of the Hong Kong based company Golden Science Technology Limited, were charged by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for counterfeiting HK$300 million worth of copyrighted optical discs. The pair were found guilty yesterday by the Court of First Instance in Hong Kong of one count of conspiracy to defraud. The charge stated that Tsoi and Ng had conspired with other persons to defraud copyright owners in relation to the illegal copying, manufacture and distribution of sound recordings, films, games, and computer software between June 1997 and April 1998. The discs were believed to be destined for the People’s Republic of China.
The investigation into the activities of the Golden Science Technology companies followed what remains to this day the biggest-ever single anti-piracy seizure – 19 million discs in Hong Kong in 1998. The court heard that when ICAC officers raided four factories, an office and warehouse premises in Fanling on April 26, 1998, over one million counterfeit discs, covering 75 titles, were seized. A total of 41 replicating lines, 38 of which were working at the time of the raid were found. Of the 38 replicating lines, 31 were making unauthorised discs worth HK$300 million. Tsoi and Ng were arrested by the ICAC in April 1998 during a corruption inquiry, and subsequently charged. The couple was ordered to stand trial at the Court of First Instance on November 19, 2001. However, they failed to turn up for the trial. The court ordered the forfeit of the couple’s bail money, totalling HK$1.25 million, and issued warrants for their arrest. With the assistance of the Interpol NCB (National Central Bureau) China, Lanzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau, and the Hong Kong Police’s Liaison Bureau, Tsoi returned to Hong Kong from the Mainland on October 14 last year. Ng was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver on October 30 last year on ICAC’s behalf. She waived extradition proceedings and returned to Hong Kong to face trial on November 19 last year. The prosecution is currently seeking forfeiture of the seized 41 replication lines, 12 printing machines, mastering machinery, 37 hundred weight of polycarbonate and 17.94 million pirate compact discs and 3,600 pirate stampers – moulds used to make the recordings.
See : www.ifpi.org

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