The Star (SA) - Major anti-piracy raid on house in Johannesburg
This article originally appeared in The Star (SA) on 23rd April 2008 and is reproduced with permission
South Africa - A house in Cyrildene, east of Joburg, that was used as a base for a multi-million rand fake CD/DVD counterfeiting operation, has been seized by the Assets Forfeiture Unit.
The house, valued at R600 000, belongs to Ms Ruoquin Chen – a Chinese national living in South Africa.
On March 11, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) obtained a preservation order – effectively freezing the home from Chen’s control.
The house was raided on April 3 last year by police, the department of Trade and Industry and several musicians opposed to piracy.
During the raid, police confiscated an estimated R1,6-million-worth of pirated CDs and DVDs hidden all over the property.
In addition to the thousands of fake CDs and DVDs, the police found a secret room built in the roof of the house that seemed to be the nerve centre of the operation and another secret room underneath the house.
During the raid, police arrested Chunren Zhou, who was in the house at the time. However, the charges against him were dropped because police did not follow proper procedure when they stormed the house.
However, Tlali Tlali, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said that despite this, the state was still able to get a preservation order to seize the property as it had been used in the commission of a crime.
“We are now in the process of applying to have the house permanently forfeited to the state under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act,” he said.
“According to experts from the Recording Industry of South Africa, such cases result in the loss of millions of rands to the recording and film industry.”