Major CD-R piracy ring smashed in Manila
January 17, 2003
Authorities in the Philippines have dismantled a major CD-R piracy ring believed to be responsible for providing at least half of the pirate music and film products available Metro Manila, the country's notorious stronghold of criminal and pirate activity.
Following a two-month intelligence gathering operation by IFPI SE Asia anti-piracy personnel, officers of the Philippines Video Regulatory Board and IFPI SE Asia representatives took part in a series of raids on January 15 supported by over 500 armed police and military personnel, including sniper teams.
Nine separate locations in Maharlika Village Metro Manila - a highly volatile location with a history of violent reaction to law enforcement operations - were targeted in the raids.
The Philippines President also provided a detachment of her own security team to escort and protect IFPI operatives from any potentially violent backlash as a result of their presence in the region.
Once the area was cordoned off in the early hours of the morning, the raiding team searched the targeted addresses and recovered over 190 CD burners and several hundred thousand finished music and film products. Hundreds of thousands of jewel cases, inlay cards and other associated products and equipment were also found.
Piracy in SE Asian countries is among the highest in the world and has caused significant damage to the music industries in the region. In the Philippines, the percentage of pirate music products is estimated at well over 30% of the market. The country was placed on the US trade law's Special 301 Priority Watch List in an out-of-cycle review in April 2002.
Iain Grant, IFPI's Head of Enforcement said: "Piracy in the SE Asia region is extensive, damaging and largely backed by organised criminal groups. We applaud the willingness to take tough action shown by the Philippine authorities against pirates in this notorious part of the capital."
The ringleader of the syndicate, a serving senior police officer attached to the Southern region of the country was apprehended inside one of the target addresses.
The syndicate's operations proved to be very sophisticated and it is estimated they were responsible for providing at least 50% of the pirate music and film products in the Metro Manila area.
Senior government officials in the country later praised the operation, which saw the largest deployment of armed military and police personnel seen within the urban area of the capital for many years.
IFPI represents the recording industry internationally. IFPI has over 1,500 members in more than 75 countries, with regional offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, Miami and Moscow.
For further information please contact: