IFPI applauds Hong Kong after company directors are jailed for six and a half years for massive CD piracy operation
20 July 2004
The international recording industry has hailed as ‘exemplary’ jail sentences of six and a half years handed down to two former directors of a Hong Kong-based company found guilty of involvement in a massive disc piracy operation.
The sentences came after a six year international investigation bringing together enforcement agencies in Hong Kong, China and Canada and assisted by anti-piracy teams from the international recording industry.
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.
Iain Grant, head of Enforcement for IFPI said: “This was a 'conspiracy to defraud' on a truly huge scale and this exemplary investigation and this prosecution illustrates that intellectual property crime should no longer be viewed as a low-risk criminal enterprise. The verdicts and sentences reflect great credit upon the professionalism and determination of both the ICAC and the Department of Justice in pursuing this investigation not only in Hong Kong but also in China and Canada. IFPI investigators filed the initial complaint and supported the case throughout its course; clearly demonstrating the value of an effective public and private sector partnership in tackling complex crime.”
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.
For further information please contact Fiona Harley or Adrian Strain at IFPI Press Office on +44 (0)20 7878 7900