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Seller of illegal streaming devices at popular shopping centre in Singapore charged in court

17 April 2024

Seller of illegal streaming devices at popular shopping centre in Singapore charged in court

On March 26, 2024, a 36-year-old man was charged in court in Singapore for selling illegal streaming devices and installing computer programs that provide access to pirated shows in his two retail shops in Sim Lim Square, the country’s largest IT and electronics shopping marketplace.

Ge Xin, owner of the shops MT Gadget+ and Grandnew, was caught selling streaming paraphernalia on October 4, 2022, when Criminal Investigation Department authorities raided shops inside the shopping centre. Over 400 sets of illegal streaming devices were confiscated.

Anna Toh, Director, Amica Law, Singapore


By engaging in illicit commercial activity, Ge infringed the copyright of Netflix, Disney and the Football Association Premier League, among others.

Anna Toh, director at Amica Law in Singapore, revealed that illegal streaming devices are easy to find in Singapore. They can be found in “ecommerce platforms, Telegram groups, as ‘off-menu’ items in stores, and more.” However, she pointed out that most viewers will not opt for illegal streaming as a first choice since the stream quality is often mediocre.

But when it comes to the consumption of sports matches such as football games, viewers in Singapore will rely on illegal streaming devices. “Many viewers will pay for services to stream movies and TV shows like Netflix and Disney+ but will turn to illegal streaming for sports like the English Premier League and the FIFA World Cup. They consider the cost to stream the latter legally too high,” she said. As an example, the streaming service for the 2022 FIFA World Cup carried a US$12 price tag in Malaysia. In Singapore, the cost soared to US$70.

Toh suggested that a more focused strategy could be more effective in dealing with the issue of illegal streaming. She also proposed that adopting a commercial approach rather than a strict rights-enforcement one. The latter often seems like a game of whack-a-mole.

“Illegal streams are difficult to track to their source and infringements require constant monitoring and chasing down. It’s more effective to address the motivation to stream illegally instead,” she explained further. “To this end, rights holders may need to consider adjusting their prices and delivery channels to meet market expectations, which will differ for different types of content.”

Ge is facing 24 charges under the Copyright Act while his companies are facing 12 charges each.

- By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Law firms