Thursday, April 21, 2011

Singapore Police busted syndicate distributing pirated games and providing illegal modification services

Police have arrested seven men, aged between 19 and 34, who are believed to be members of a syndicate involved in distributing pirated games and providing illegal modification services which allowed pirated games to be played on modified game consoles.

In a 13-hour long operation which commenced on 13 April 2011 at about 1pm, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) raided three retail shops located in Jurong West, Taman Jurong and Boon Keng. During the raid, modified game consoles from Nintendo DS, Wii and Sony PlayStation Portables, pirated games, counterfeit accessories, laptops, hard disks, and memory sticks containing circumvention programs used to modify the game consoles were found in all three retail shops. The estimated street value of the infringing items was close to S$36,000/-.

Counterfeit electronic items

Counterfeit electronic items

The successful operation came after several months of intensive intelligence operations, where CID officers established the identities of the suspects who were members of a local syndicate that provided the illegal modification services for game consoles. The syndicate’s retail shops had legitimate shop-fronts with typical counters, racks and shelving to display retail goods. However, behind partitioned walls, illegal modifications to game consoles were carried out and pirated games were downloaded.

Head of the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of the CID , Superintendent of Police Loh Kah Wai, said, "Police take a serious view of such intellectual property rights violations, and will continue to clamp down on syndicates involved in the modification of game consoles and the sale of counterfeit games in Singapore. Circumvention of built-in anti-piracy controls carries a heavy fine and imprisonment, and offenders will be prosecuted in Court.”

Persons found guilty of providing counterfeit products shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000 for the article or for each article in respect of which the offence was committed or $100,000, whichever is lower, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.

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