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Hong Kong busts website selling Japanese DVDs

The Hong Kong authorities have closed down a website selling pirated animation DVD discs to Japanese customers through mail-order, the local Chinese daily Wen Wei Po reported.

The website, registered by a Hong Kong native, 22- year old Cheung, was made up to look like a legitimate Japanese retail site by updating stockpile information and purchase details in Japanese, according to custom officials.

During six month of operation, the website sold some 12,000 pirated DVDs bringing Cheung revenues estimated at around 1 million HK dollars (US$130,000).

Interested customers following the Japanese instructions were asked to make their choice on-line and transfer payment to an account in a Japanese bank, one of three accounts opened by Cheung through black market operations.

In order to avoid alerting investigators, Cheung travelled to Japan once a month to withdraw money from these bank accounts.

As all the transaction took place via the internet, Cheung's illicit business went unnoticed until Hong Kong custom officers acted on complaints from copyright holders, some two months ago.

Investigators pretended to be Japanese customers ordering DVD on Cheung's website and arrested him when he tried to mail out three packages of DVDs at a post office in eastern Hong Kong.

The search of Cheungs' flat uncovered 160,000 pirated DVDs, all of which were high-quality products professionally packed.

Two other suspects were also arrested.

Story filed 22.01.06

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