The Victorian Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) has conducted a raid on a popular swap meet in Box Hill, seizing stock and identifying traders selling pirated and counterfeit goods.
On July 28, the Victorian Police entered the Computer Swap Meet at Box Hill Town Hall, seizing some 1,600 CDs and DVDs. The Victorian Police said 10 people will be interviewed at a later date in relation to copyright offences. No charges will be laid for a matter of weeks, however, as the seized material must first be formally analysed and classified.
The raid was welcomed by the proprietor of the Computer Swap Meets markets, Max Moreton. Moreton runs monthly computer swap meets at various town halls around Melbourne and regional Victoria. On any given Sunday, there are up to three markets taking place.
Moreton charges consumers three dollars to enter and charges traders a small fee to sell their wares at the markets. He described the majority of the traders as being "reliable and honest", but admits that he has had some difficulty with traders who break the rules.
"We have a problem in that if I try and police things, all I can do is turf them out," he said. "All they do then is sign up for another market, or register under a different name or get their cousin to register for them."
Moreton said a better solution was for the police to raid the markets occasionally, cart somebody off, charge them and fine them heavily so they won't come back. He said the other traders would be happy to see those selling pirated and counterfeit gear rubbed out.
The unscrupulous traders have traditionally been involved in much worse criminal activity overseas, Moreton said, and have found that selling copyright material a far more convenient and easy way to make a living. "There are some big organisations that are penetrating our markets," he said. "Anything the police can do, I'm all for it."