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Cablegate: Dsi Raid Nets Thailand's Largest Cd Seizure

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBK #1562 1420852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210852Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3103
RUEHKL/AMEMBASS KUALA LUMPUR 7212
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BANGKOK 001562

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS
STATE PASS USTR
USDOC FOR 4430/EAP/MAC/OKSA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON ETRD TH
SUBJECT: DSI RAID NETS THAILAND'S LARGEST CD SEIZURE

1. (SBU) On May 7, a Department of Special Investigations (DSI)
team hit a major distributor of piated optical discs outside of
Bangkok, netting oer 500,000 CDs and DVDs valued at over 50 million
baht (USD 1.5 million). The raid was the largesthaul of optical
discs in DSI's six-year history and larger in terms of items seized
than any otherprevious police seizure as well. DSI's investigatrs
said their most significant seizure to date hd scooped up only
100,000 CDs. DSI concluded tht their target had been one of the
largest distributors of pirated discs in Thailand, though rights
holders say other pirate operations are even moresubstantial.

2. (SBU) The distribution center onsisted of three separate
buildings, including n office for order taking, a warehouse and a
separate packing and shipping facility. DSI suspected hat much of
the merchandise was sourced from Malysia as they discovered
invoices and price listsin Malaysian ringgit, though they were not
able o determine whether the discs were actually manufacured in
Malaysia. Officers arrested a man at th warehouse suspected of
being the general manage of the compound. DSI is pursuing an
arrest warant for another individual listed in property records as
the owner of the hree buildings that made up the distribution
cener.

3. (SBU) DSI's Director of IP Crime, Polic Colonel Naras
Savestanan, said that many of the seized CDs had been already
packaged and addresse for delivery to retail sellers of bootleg
musicand movies in the tourist areas of Pattaya, Phuketand Ko
Samui. As all the discs seized were of Wstern origin and the
movies were without subtitles, DSI concluded that the distributor's
primary mrket was the foreign tourist trade.

DSI back inaction?
-------------------

4. (SBU) This laest raid marks DSI's belated return to IP
enforcment. Created in 2002 as an investigatory body similar to
the FBI, DSI was tasked with undertaking n-depth investigations
into large-scale crimes, ith a special section for intellectual
property rimes. However, after the September 2006 militarycoup,
many of DSI's 60 IP officers were pulled away for other unrelated
investigations and reassiged. Most of the current investigators
are new t the IP section.

5. (SBU) Dr. Naras said DSI'sIP investigations had been hampered
by a change n policy on valuation of seized merchandise. DSI only
undertakes investigations of economic crimes ith a value of more
than 500,000 baht (USD 15,00). In the past, the value of pirated
material ws calculated on the basis of the value of the genune
product (meaning a few fake Rolexes could put a case into DSI's
hands), but was now calculated n the value of the counterfeit
merchandise. ForCD's, an investigation would need to expect at
last a 5000 CD seizure to warrant DSI involvement. Naras said the
new policy had lessened the number of cases DSI could investigate.
JOHN

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