Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Special dogs to sniff out fake DVDs in Malaysia

Hmmm .. I wonder what does a DVD smell like?
These dogs must sure be talented! :)

SEPANG: Red-carpet treatment and six-star hotels are usually reserved for VIPs or Very Important Persons.

In the case of Lucky and Flo, it would have to be changed to VICs or Very Important Canines.

Lucky and Flo are two Labrador Retrievers on an important mission to Malaysia. They have been brought here from Northern Ireland to help authorities in the fight against DVD and CD pirates.

And befitting their status as top dogs when it comes to sniffing out optical discs, Lucky and Flo are being put up at the six-star Animal Hotel in Sepang.

"These animals are the latest addition to our armoury in the never-ending battle against optical disc pirates," said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal who was impressed with the dogs’ abilities at a demonstration at the Advanced Cargo Centre here yesterday.

The deployment of the two dogs makes Malaysia the first country worldwide to test the capabilities of dogs in detecting optical discs in hidden compartments or shipments.

The project, aptly codenamed Operation Double Trouble, will be a month-long affair, with the dogs taken to various locations, including shopping centres.

The dogs have been to several countries to give demonstrations of their prowess in sniffing and detecting hidden optical discs.

Although Malaysia is no longer the world’s number one exporter of pirated discs, steps are being taken to further stamp out the menace.

"There has been a decline in the overall seizure of Malaysian- made pirated goods worldwide, but we must not rest on our laurels," Shafie said.

"Make no mistake, those involved in piracy are ruthless criminals. They are devious and keep coming up with new ways to avoid detection.

"Last year, five million discs worth RM50 million were seized as well as other paraphernalia."

Shafie said there should be closer collaboration between enforcement agencies, such as the police and Customs, and transport companies.

At the end of Lucky and Flo’s stint, the ministry will evaluate their performance. It is considering setting up a canine unit within its enforcement division.

Also present yesterday were Federal CID director Datuk Christopher Wan and Motion Picture Association Asia-Pacific region senior vice-president Michael Ellis.

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