Casbaa on prowl for pirates

Campaign follows org's victory against satellite system dealers

HONG KONG — The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia (Casbaa) is pressing ahead with efforts to stamp out unlicensed satellite TV broadcasts in Hong Kong’s bars and restaurants.

Undercover snoops working for the org — representing 120 Asian-based broadcasters — have been scoping out establishments that screen sports programming via imported satellite feeds not licensed for broadcast in Hong Kong.

Casbaa will serve offending venues with “cease and desist” orders. Those who continue to screen illicit broadcasts may be issued a private summons and prosecuted.

Penalties include the confiscation of their satellite systems and possible liability for damages amounting to the cost of legal proceedings and the loss of revenue suffered by the only broadcaster entitled to show most of Hong Kong’s sports programming, i-Cable.

The campaign follows Casbaa’s May court victory against seven satellite system dealers. The crackdown will coincide with the beginning of the popular English Premier League soccer season. “The pay TV industry takes pro-active positions when subscribers will pay more attention,” says Simon Twiston-Davies, Casbaa’s chief executive.