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Thursday, May 27, 1999 Published at 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK


Pirate Star Wars videos on sale

Pirate copies filmed in a cinema are on sale in Hong Kong

Just one week after the new Star Wars film opened in the US, pirated copies have already hit stores in Asia.

Poor quality bootlegged video CDs of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace are now available in shopping malls and in markets in Hong Kong and Macau, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The copies in Hong Kong all appeared to be from the same source - an amateur video recorded in a US cinema.

"It is a very bad copy. You can see the back of people's heads moving and hear them talking and shouting," said Sam Ho, the director of the Motion Pictures Association's Hong Kong and Macau anti-piracy operation unit.

The real version of the Phantom Menace will hit screens in Singapore on 3 June - but will not be in UK cinemas until 16 July.

Meanwhile, three men turned themselves in to police in the US in connection with the theft of a copy of the Star Wars film from a cinema in Wisonsin last weekend.

The film, thought to be worth more than $60,000 on the black market, was recovered in three bin bags. Local police say it is unlikely any pirate copies were made.

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