Chinese police nab over 400 in illegal TV service crackdown

(Xinhua) Updated : 2016-03-24

BEIJING - Chinese police have detained 422 people involved in producing, selling and operating illegal devices and software to provide TV and video services, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

The case comes amid a crackdown following a directive jointly issued in September by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) and the MPS pledging punishment for illegal TV businesses.

So far, the police have investigated about 750 cases and confiscated 830,000 sets of illegal equipment and software worth more than 320 million yuan ($49.1 million).

In a typical case, two brothers, both surnamed Zhang, in South China's Shenzhen city produced an Internet-based TV receiver resembling a set-top box and sold more than 100,000 of them to customers across the country. Another man surnamed Zhou wrote programs for the device to share links to foreign TV and radio programs, as well as online movies and pornographic videos.

Illegal online TV and video services are a new area of crime requiring high technical skill, said Cai Chengrong with the public security bureau of Shenzhen. "They developed hardware and software systems to share foreign TV content to operate as an unlicensed online TV network."

The police found pornography was a major draw for customers of the illegal services. People who bought the receivers had access to more than 3,000 pornographic links uploaded by Zhou from three servers based in the United States.

Another illegal TV service operator called "Taiwan Chinese Satellite Television" provided all-day pornographic programming. Police in East China's Fujian province have nabbed 33 people involved in the case, including its head of business in the Chinese mainland, wholesalers and retailers.

According to the SAPPRFT, a compulsory national standard on receiving devices for online TV services is expected to be published by the end of July.