Four guilty after cops smash international pirate DVD ring

MEMBERS of a Chinese criminal network involved in a multi-million pound film piracy industry’ have been. They ran a one stop shop’ supply service for other criminal gangs producing counterfeit DVDs

MEMBERS of a Chinese criminal network involved in a multi-million pound film piracy industry’ have been convicted in court.

They ran a one stop shop’ supply service for other criminal gangs with international links, producing counterfeit DVDs in slave labour’ factories in East London.

Scotland Yard’s Film Piracy unit arrested 10 suspects in raids on homes and business premises in Hackney Wick, Leyton, Walthamstow Chingford and Tottenham, and a warehouse at Harlow in Essex.

They uncovered �130,000 cash stashed at a house in Chingford where two brothers running the operation were arrested with their father.


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HIDDEN DISCS

The raids followed interception of a parcel by Customs officers at Stansted Airport containing a car catalogue which had 10 silver discs hidden in the pages.

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The discs turned out to be stamper’ copies of original master recordings which could only be used to duplicate film imprinted on it.

This showed the presence in Britain of an industrial counterfeiting operation, the first time such a rogue plant had been identified in Western Europe, which was traced to Walthamstow.

SLAVE LABOUR

One of the men arrested ran a workforce of illegal immigrants who had been trafficked into Britain as slave’ labour working and living in factories’ round the clock, producing hundreds of thousands of illegal copies of popular movies every week.

Four men convicted at Southwark Crown court yesterday (Wednesday) have been remanded for sentencing on July 28, some in custody and some on bail.

They are Sami Asghar-Sheikh, 28, his brother Rafi, 26, their father Khalid, 53, all from Chingford, all guilty of conspiracy to launder proceeds of film piracy and producing pirate DVDs, and Xin Li, 34, from Walthamstow, concealing the proceeds of crime. A fifth man, Richard Russell, 27, from Dagenham, admitted a copyright offence at the start of the trial.

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