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Source : Emirates Today

Dubai : 22 Aug: Parishioners at a church in Dubai have vented their anger at the sale of pirated DVDs and CDs outside their place of worship.

Church volunteers at St Mary’ s Church in Dubai constantly ask the peddlers to refrain from laying out their goods near the church, but they have been unable to stop them from trading. Father PM Peter, the parish priest at the church, said the church does not have the authority to demand that the peddlers move away, as the sale of pirated DVDs and CDs is held outside the church compound.

“We can only request they not operate there. Our church volunteers have tried to persuade them not to sell the fake DVDs and CDs,” he said.

Fr Peter said people have been flocking to the area, to check out what is for sale, and causing a disturbance.

“I believe there are some [peddlers] who have shifted already. We don’t even know the contents of the material which are on sale outside the church,” he said. Emirates Today witnessed two Asian men who were reprimanded by a parking inspector outside the church at 7pm on Sunday evening. There were English and Hindi movie DVDs being sold at Dh15 each.

A peddler was also spotted using the pedestrian bridge opposite the Dubai English Speaking School to sell Hindi films and bundled “five-in-one” English movies. “They are not Chinese, but Indians and Bengalis who sell pirated DVDs. They are often there by 7pm,” said Murli, a 45year-old Indian businessman.

“The pirated goods are not placed in plastic bags like the Chinese. They are laid out on loonghis [wrap-around skirts]. When policemen happen to patrol the area, they quickly pack up and leave the place.” Murli also said the peddlers do brisk business in a nearby cafeteria and near a mosque.

“I haven’t seen any Chinese peddling DVDs and CDs in Dubai. In Sharjah, there are Chinese men who peddle their goods from one flat to another in buildings on Rolla Street. I bought three cartoon films [DVDs] for only Dh15. DVDs with sexual content are sold for Dh15 each,” he said.

Gao Youzhen, the Chinese Consul General in Dubai, admitted there are Chinese nationals, who in their desire to rake in huge profits, are involved in the illegal sale of pirated items.

“We tell our people to abide strictly by the UAE law,” he said. Early this year, a special hotline (04 266 1228) was set up by the police to curb the problem of sellers of pirated DVDs and CDs.

Major Ali Ganem, the head of the commercial fraud and piracy section at Dubai Police, has, meanwhile, called on the public to report any vendor selling pirated items.

He said: “The authorities attach importance to copyright issues. In terms of the production of these fake DVDs and CDs, these are made in [underground] factories in China.”


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