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Crime family go down for 18 years for film piracy scam

PUBLISHED: 23:53 28 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:37 05 October 2010

FOUR members of a crime family involved in a multi-million pound film piracy industry’ including two brothers and their godfather’ dad have been jailed today (Tuesday) for a total of 18 years. They operated illicit factories across East London supplying gangs using slave labour trafficked into Britain

FOUR members criminal family involved in a multi-million pound film piracy industry’ including two brothers and their godfather’ dad have been jailed today (Tuesday) for a total of 18 years.

They operated illicit factories across East London. The organized crime groups they were supplying used a workforce of largely illegal Chinese immigrants trafficked into Britain, housing them in factories’ where they lived round-the-clock in conditions of virtual slavery, said Scotland Yard.

The family provided a one stop shop’ supply service for other criminal networks producing and selling counterfeit DVDs with international links.

HIDDEN DISCS

The authorities only stumbled on the network when a parcel was intercepted by HM Customs at Stansted Airport addressed to the crime boss Rafi Sheikh in Chingford, containing a car catalogue which had 10 silver metal discs hidden in the pages.

The discs turned out to be pre-masters used for industrial DVD replication machinery, indicting the presence of a sophisticated industrial plant somewhere in the UK, the first time such a rogue operation had been identified in Western Europe.

Officers from the Met’s Film Piracy Unit then busted premises in Walthamstow, Chingford and Harlow where 10 people were arrested on June 13, 2006.

FACTORIES’

Addresses were also searched at Barton Close in Hackney Wick as well as Leyton, Walthamstow and South Tottenham.

The factories’ were capable of producing hundreds of thousands of illegal copies a week of popular movies, with hundreds of different titles being duplicated.

Three members of the Asghar-Sheikh family in the dock at Southwark Crown Court went down for conspiracy or concealing criminal proceeds. Sami, 28, and his brother Rafi, 26, both got six years, while their father Khalid, 53, got four years. The fourth man, Jerry Li, 34, got 27 months for concealing.


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