Cops Seize DVDs Worth Millions

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A joint operation involving members of the Namibian Police, in collaboration with the City Police and the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam), recently impounded pirated DVDs worth N$2,5 million. The record haul was made at Chinatown in Windhoek from where businessmen of Oriental extract operate. This follows closely on the heels of a separate operation in which 20 000 copies of contraband DVDs were also confiscated from 42 Chinese and other shops in Katutura. The penalty for those convicted of infringing copyright laws is between N$12 000 and N$20 000, or three to four years in jail or both, depending on the severity of the crime. The bust is part of the police’s ongoing crime prevention operation, called “Black September”, in and around the capital, that started on August 08, 2006 and will run until September 30. At a press briefing yesterday, the Namibian Police’s Chief Inspector Angula Amulungu said that the counterfeit DVDs include the newest music on the market. “These are all the latest movies on the market …” explained Chief Inspector Amulungu. Citing the piracy of international and local movies and music in the country as a serious concern, Nascam’s Chief Executive Officer, Eino John Max, fears that the biopic of Founding Father Sam Nujoma “Where Others Wavered,” could likely fall prey to DVD pirates once released. “Namibia is fast becoming a film-making industry and once local films are on the market they can become a target of piracy. If we do not do something now about the situation it will get out of control like in other countries,” said Max. Already there is some kind of network or syndicate where locals are provided with pirated goods to sell in their shops. He further said that it’s quite worrying to notice that once a music CD or movie is released it’s already in the hands of pirates. “Rental shops are really suffering a lot and losing out on customers.” At some of the raided Chinese shops empty DVD covers were found along with materials used for packing the goods for sale. Some of the shop owners did not have the proper, licensed documents and a couple of them were arrested in the process. “One local woman was even selling them without even knowing that the stuff was pirated. Some DVD’s were found stashed under the bed,” added Max, who gave the reassurance that the police are constantly striving to block gaps. Local music such as that of the popular Gazza, The Dogg and others have also fallen prey to piracy as culprits continuously dub the music onto CDs and download them onto computers and cassettes without buying the original. According to Max, most of these fake goods are found at jukeboxes in shebeens and shops in Katutura. Appeals have been made that further patrols of containers coming from China be conducted at the harbour town where most of these fake goods are coming in. “If they (the pirates) see the country is relaxed it will become a harbour for pirated goods which then are exported to other countries,” added Max. Meanwhile, the “Black September” operation by the Namibian Police and City Police has been successful in reducing the rate of crime in and around the capital. Large consignments of stolen goods were once again shown at the Wanaheda Police Station yesterday. Goods ranged from dangerous self-made knives, guns, pepper spray canisters, traditional weapons like knobkerries and bows and arrows to thorny tree branches used by one suspect to beat up his girlfriend. Other items included imported whiskey sachets, Tafel Lager crates of beer, metal tin shears used for house-breaking, generators, copper wire, laptops, television sets and even toy guns used to carry out criminal activities. “We are starting to see positive results in the reduced crime rate,” said Khomas Regional Commander, Chief Inspector Samuel //Hoebeb, adding that the general public are beginning to feel safer. However, while the crime rate is said to be declining in the capital, it is increasing in the Erongo Region especially at the coastal towns where robberies have become common. Chief Inspector Amulungu added that plans are in place to adopt similar crime prevention operations at the coast to address this situation. Furthermore, an upsurge of crime in riverbeds has also been reported especially in the Wanaheda area, and serious steps are being taken by the police to bring this situation under control. Shebeen owners were also urged to stick to the trading hours of business

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