KUALA LUMPUR: A massive operation to wipe out the sale, production and manufacture of pirated and pornographic VCDs was launched simultaneously last night in several parts of the Klang Valley.
The raids, codenamed Ops Benteras and involving some 800 police personnel, saw the first strike against two outlets in Cheras, netting more than 200,000 pirated and pornographic VCDs.
At press time, more than 40 teams comprising policemen from Bukit Aman and district headquarters were on the streets targeting entertainment outlets, street peddlers, video arcades and even drug haunts.
Police found most of the outlets locked and they had to break in by cutting the padlocks and chains to search the premises.
They met with little resistance, as the outlet owners are believed to have gone into hiding to avoid the crackdown.
The raids, headed by federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Salleh Mat Som, are part of an effort to meet the June 8 deadline set by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai to cripple the illegal industry.
By 6pm, two outlets including one apartment in Cheras were raided, an hour after the operation was launched.
Comm Salleh said he had instructed his men to go all out in this operation.
“Nothing will deter us from putting an end to the unscrupulous activities. We will wipe out, if possible, every single one of them.“To ensure total success, we also need the public’s assistance especially to provide us the information and location, if possible, on these people’s hideouts,” he added.
In a related development, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry said its enforcement officers had busted 10 illegal VCD distribution centres since the nationwide crackdown was launched on May 26.
They seized at least 90,000 pirated VCDs, CDs, DVDs and computer software worth RM450,000 during raids at nine centres in the Klang Valley and one in Penang.
Ministry Enforcement Division Intellectual Property Unit director Abdul Rozik Yakub said 50% of the raids were conducted following tip-offs from the public and copyrights owners.
“The distribution centres are used by illegal operators to store their pirated VCDs, CDs, DVDs and software together with original ones,” he said.
He believed smut peddlers at hot spots for pirated VCDs such as Petaling Street, USJ Taipan, Damansara Uptown, SS2, Sea Park, Sunway Pyramid and Desa Setapak had ceased operations and were on a “cooling off” period following the crackdown.
He said that since January, the enforcement team had smashed 39 distribution centres and confiscated over one million discs worth RM13mil.
He said the enforcement team had also nabbed four illegal factories and seized seven machineries worth RM20mil in Klang, Shah Alam and Malacca over the last five months.
Two of the manufacturers have been brought to court while the other two are still being investigated.
“Our main problem is the great public demand for pirated and pornographic VCDs. They are willing to wait for the smut peddlers to make a comeback.
“Obviously, the low price of pirated VCDs is the main factor making it difficult for us to eliminate the problem,” he said, adding that those in the industry should co-operate in finding ways to lower the price of original VCDs.