'Flu researchers' turn out to be movie pirates

Movie pirates ran a DVD factory in secret for two years by pretending they were scientists conducting research into highly contagious avian flu, according to Chinese police. The factory, in a quiet farming area in eastern China, sold more than 30 million DVDs before authorities finally noticed the mysterious flow of discs coming from the claimed 'research facility'.

Initially, the warnings about the hazard of deadly bird flu infections had been enough to keep local residents and suspicious officials well away from the factory at the end of a forest road.

A team of 40 police officers who eventually raided the factory, six months after the first reports of mysterious late night shipments emerging from it, found more than 100,000 pirated DVDs and four DVD pressing lines, according to the state-controlled Xinhua News. They arrested eleven, including the factory's manager. Police believe the factory earned around $3.8 million from sales of the DVDs over two years.

Simultaneously, authorities in other parts of China closed in on the illegal operation's supply lines, arresting five more people and seizing a further 100,000 DVDs, including pirated movies and pornography.

Perpetrators had moved their operation from crowded Southern China to the somewhat quieter eastern part of the country in 2004 and come up with the bird flu ruse in an attempt to evade detection, police claimed.

DVDs confiscated in the action were later shredded in a public demonstration (see photo).

Alleged illegal DVDs being shredded in China



Funny how the people in the area didn't complain about the bird flu research if they were so scared of it.