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Porno Smugglers Headed to Court

A smuggling operation involving 3.8 million pornographic videodisks, the largest such haul uncovered in China, is expected to go before the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court soon.

The total number of discs involved in the case, 6.2 million, accounted for one-third of the smuggled discs intercepted between 1994 and 2002, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The pirated discs were found stashed in four warehouses in Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province, during a major campaign local police started earlier this month to crack down on illegal publications.

The Guangzhou Municipal Procuratorate recently completed preparations for the hearing of Chen Songbo, the main suspect, and 15 co-accused, at the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

Between August 2001 and March last year, Chen and his gang allegedly smuggled 3.8 million pornographic videodisks worth 0.68 yuan (US$0.08) each and an additional 7.5 million erotic discs worth 0.71 yuan (US$0.09) each from overseas.

Charges claim that Chen made 350,000 yuan (US$42,000) by selling about 5 million discs nationwide through a network. He first came to the attention of police in March last year.

The network was uncovered earlier this month. It allegedly spans the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, Anhui Province, and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Chen's wife, Ma Chanzhen, and his two brothers were allegedly involved in the smuggling racket. Chen's wife was reportedly responsible for sending and receiving order faxes and collecting money.

Li Guangchen, one of Chen's brothers, was allegedly in charge of a distribution warehouse where the discs were stored after being smuggled from abroad.

(China Daily March 17, 2004)

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