Hong Kong Customs seizes 1,000 illegal streaming devices, shutters 10 retailers, could lead to prison

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The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) and its Coalition Against Piracy announced that, after receiving information from Television Broadcasts Ltd. (TVB), Hong Kong Customs conducted a successful enforcement operation that closed 10 retail shops in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long.  The shops were selling Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs) that allowed users to watch illegally streamed content.

More than 1,000 ISDs and related computers and video equipment, with a value in excess of USD150,000 were seized by authorities. In addition to these seizures, three shop owners and three salespersons were arrested. Investigations are ongoing and there may well be further arrests.

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The actions were the first in Hong Kong to apply the “communication right” in enforcement actions against ISD sellers since the implementation of the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2022. Potential penalties for this enforcement include imprisonment of up to four years and fines of HD$36,000 (US$6,400) for each infringed work.

Michael Kwan, TVB’s Senior IP Enforcement Advisor, stated, “TVB works closely with Hong Kong Customs in these enforcement actions, which demonstrate the unwavering commitment of both the Hong Kong Customs and TVB to protecting intellectual property rights and ensuring a fair and sustainable creative industry. We applaud the collaborative efforts in sending a strong message against the sale and distribution of ISDs.”

Original press release

AVIA and TVB congratulate Hong Kong Customs for action against distributors of illegal streaming devices. Press release. October 18, 2023.  Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP)

Why it matters

“CAP’s data shows that Hong Kong has the highest per capita rates of illegal streaming of pirate content in the countries CAP monitors in Asia-Pacific, and consumer usage of ISDs to access pirate content is second only to social media. Recent studies also show the real risks to consumers from accessing content via pirate sources,” said Matt Cheetham, the General Manager of CAP.

“It is therefore vital that Hong Kong’s enforcement authorities send a strong message that the sale and distribution of ISDs is illegal in Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Customs are to be congratulated for these actions that act to protect both its creative economy and its consumers,” he said.


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