New Route

HONG KONG, Apr. 24 (AFP) – A long campaign to remove pirated goods from shop fronts in Asia is finally having an impact but the crackdown has also changed the nature of the problem and new outlets are flourishing. The results of police raids, a slate of new laws and increased prosecutions can be seen across the region on the back streets of Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and to a lesser extent Phnom Penh and Hanoi.

For example, not too long ago outside Beijing’s notorious and now closed down Silk Alley lane, any visitor would be mobbed by hawkers of every kind offering the latest films and music for as little as one dollar a pirated disc.

On a recent visit, not a one was to be seen.

The success in forcing the pirates at least off the street if not out of the market follows intense pressure from the United States and the West on Asian governments to clean up their act.

Vendors plying copied Hollywood blockbusters, a Hermes Kelly bag, fake Viagra or home-made auto spares as an original part are hurting, insists Su Chun-hung, a deputy police chief in Taiwan.

He is proud of his Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Police Team which in 2005 cracked 4,783 piracy cases and arrested 5,469 people,