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Sidney police raid a pirate pay TV company

Police have raided the Sydney arm of an alleged global piracy business selling unlicensed pay TV subscription packages offering over 1000 channels for  $ 50 a month.

Police claims that the raided shop is part of a global piracy operation, which private investigators estimate to be worth $70 million a year and has150 000 customers.

The police action was sparked by the TVB Group, a Chinese language content giant, which hired a private investigation firm to uncover the alleged piracy operation.

In the raid police seized computer equipment, nine USB network access keys and records “pertaining to the distribution and sale of pirated content”. A 42 year old man was charged in connection with the illegal business.

The raid follows a similar police operation in Sydney last December, in which a man was arrested for allegedly selling $500 set-top boxes and unlicensed pay TV subscription packages offering 1000 channels for $90 a month.

The former head of Music Industry Piracy Investigations, Michael Speck was contracted to lead both investigations. He has so far identified 100 Australian customers from records seized at yesterday’s raid who were using the service and said they would be pursued as they were “receivers of stolen property”.

While some of the channels on offer were Asian language, according to police briefs and forensic reports many of the 1000 channels offered western content from providers including MTV, Discovery, ESPN, CNN, HBO, Fox, BBC and NBC.