x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Police raids target satellite TV pirates

Police pledged to intensify investigations as more pirate dishes are identified.

DUBAI // Police have raided dozens of buildings as part of a swoop on satellite television piracy in the emirate.

Officers from the Dubai Police economic crime department targeted Al Qusais, where dishes had been rigged up to receive illegal feeds, allowing people to watch Indian channels without a paid subscription.

Police, who are working with Arab Digital Distribution (ADD), a pay TV provider in the region, pledged to intensify investigations as more pirate dishes are identified.

"Piracy is not only an act of bad citizenship but an illegal act that can seriously compromise your status, your residence and your lifestyle in UAE," said General Khalil Ibrahim al Mansouri, the director general of inquiries and criminal investigations.

"We are determined to continue our campaign against illegal vendors and subscribers."

The raids took place in the first week of January, with dishes found on rooftops, balconies and terraces at more than 50 buildings.

One real estate company running a raided property initially said they were unaware of the problem, but later promised authorities they would remove pirate dishes from all 65 buildings they manage.

General al Mansouri said the authorities were determined to safeguard intellectual property rights, with piracy costing the software industry billions of dollars a year.

ADD said it was "practically impossible" to compete with overspill satellite TV from India, such as Dish TV, which offers rival packages at a fraction of the cost.

Majed Sahelli, the managing director of ADD, said confiscating receivers at airports and punishing lawbreakers sent out a strong message, but it was a long-term battle.