Hoang Dai Nghia, deputy head of the Market Watch Department said that this is the biggest case involving printing presses, scanned copies and a variety of other modern printing and cutting machines.

"The seized publications included illegal copies of political literature and text books that were labelled as products from the National Politics Publishing House and Education Publishing House." he, who was cited by the news agency, said.

Meanwhile Nguyen Van Chung, director of the illegal printing company, said that the organisation was operating without a license and was printing and selling illegal books to the market. The company did not have contracts with any publishing houses or book stores.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications, it is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the books sold on the streets are illegally produced. Book stores have also been known to sell illegal books, as well.

Nguyen Kiem, head of the Ministry of Information and Communications' Publication Department, said that many violators have been discovered. However, the administrative penalties are not tough enough to prevent the illegal printing activities from continuing.

Kiem said that in the near future, it will be necessary for the relevant authorities to apply harsher penalties for those found violating publishing statutes.

Nguyen Van Khoa, a lawyer from northern Hai Phong City, said that violators can be prosecuted under the three laws that pertain to illegal printing.

For publishing without a licence, the violator can receive a maximum fine of VND30 million (US$1,682) while for violating the Intellectual Property statute, an individual can receive a maximum fine of VND100 million (US$5,606), and for breaking the Criminal Code, the violator can possibly be imprisoned.

Citizens should also educate themselves about Intellectual Property Laws and actively boycott against the illegal printing of books.

He added that co-operation between the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Ministry of Public Security involves having police regularly inspect suspected illegal publishers.

After four months of co-operation, more than 400 foreign book titles have been confirmed as counterfeit copies.

Bernama - September 23, 2009