CASBAA Applauds Hong Kong Customs Black Box Raid

Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., June 27, 2014 --( Hong Kong Customs’ successful raids last week on suppliers of a pirate TV box service should serve as a warning to all potential consumers of unauthorized TV services, said Asia’s pay-TV association, CASBAA. “Buying a dodgy TV box is a bad deal for consumers,” said CASBAA’s Chief Policy Officer John Medeiros. “The content is being illegally supplied and the signal is subject to interruption at any time.”

Frequently, artful sales approaches imply to consumers that the services on the box could be legal, and that they will last indefinitely. Consumers may even be told they are buying a year-long subscription. In fact, said CASBAA, there is no guarantee of quality or continuity for programs supplied via pirate media boxes. “Apart from the usual signal quality uncertainties of internet transmission, the content stream can be terminated suddenly,” said CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter, “whether by law enforcement action – as in the recent Hong Kong case – or through the upstream intervention of content owners.”

In the Hong Kong case, Customs authorities raided four residential premises, a warehouse and a commercial electronics stall, arresting nine people who are suspected to have conspired with others to operate an illegal “circumvention business” to access pay-TV content illegally and distribute it around the world via the internet, for payment.

“We congratulate Customs on this enforcement action,” said Medeiros. “They uncovered a criminal fact pattern and acted upon it decisively.” But he said there is an important lesson for consumers as well as potential criminals: “Dodgy boxes give dodgy results,” said Medeiros. “They are bad for consumers and bad for the creative industries. Only the criminal syndicates reap benefits -- until they get caught.” As the boxes are a growing problem, industry players expect to work diligently with enforcement agencies to combat their supply and use.

CASBAA urged consumers to acquire their TV from legal sources, and noted that purchasing and using some boxes could even engage the consumer in illegal acts, depending on the internal workings of the box. The best guarantee of legality is subscribing to authorized TV services that provide high-quality program signals. Holders of authorized pay-TV licenses in Hong Kong are Hong Kong Cable TV, PCCW/now TV, and TVB Network Vision.


Established in 1991, CASBAA is the Association for digital multichannel TV, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery across geographic markets throughout the Asia-Pacific. CASBAA and its members reach nearly 470 million connections within a regional footprint ranging from China to Australasia, Japan to Pakistan. The CASBAA mission is to promote the growth of multichannel TV and video content via industry information, networking exchanges and events while promoting global best practices. To view the full list of CASBAA members please visit
Desmond Chung
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