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Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrants for ‘Copyright Extortion’ Gang

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A Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for a former copyright agent and two others for allegedly extorting money from a school girl. The 15 year-old girl was fined for violating copyright law by making krathongs in the shape of cartoon characters.

Deputy national police chief Wirachai Songmetta said arrest warrants had been sought for Prajak Phopol, 56; Phumpakorn Thinsuwan, 42; and Mr Phumpakorn’s daughter Wanida, 24.

The suspects are alleged members of a gang called “Bravo.”

Police said they are also known to extort money from people for alleged copyright violations. Mr Prajak, previously worked for a company that cracked down on piracy, is thought to be the ring leader.

Police said the three face charges of using fake documents and forging signatures of copyright owners.

The gang was exposed by the 15-year-old girl whom they had hired to produce Krathongs with cartoon characters for the Loy Krathong festival. They also then tried to blackmail her. The girl filed a complaint, which also led to police action.

Police investigation expanded after more vendors filed complaints against the alleged copyright agents. Alleging they also sought police action against them in a copyright “sting” to extort fines.

TAC Consumer Plc, the representative of Japanese copyright holder San-X cartoon, denied it had assigned anyone to work with police in copyright sting operations.

Police also affirmed that the characters on the floats did not resemble the copyright cartoon characters.

Source: Bangkok Post