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Suspects in smuggling ring to front court
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-17 00:57

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

The total number of discs involved in the case -- 6.23 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 in four secret warehouses in Guangzhou, the province's capital, 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 discs worth 0.68 yuan (US$0.082) each and an additional 7.5 million erotic discs worth 0.71 yuan (US$0.085) each from overseas.

Chen made 350,000 yuan (US$42,168) by selling about 5 million discs nationwide through a network, it is claimed. He first came to the attention of police in March last year.

The network was uncovered earlier this month. It is claimed that it 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 held after being smuggled from abroad.

And Chen Songkui, Chen's other brother, hid Chen at his house when police were searching for him, it is claimed.

Chen co-operated with police after his arrest, which will assist him during sentencing, Xinhua said.

All the other defendants were rounded up in Chaozhou and Shantou, two cities also in Guangdong Province.

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