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AGC appeals against punishment for Android TV box seller, says it may have been excessive

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has filed an appeal against the punishment meted out to a company selling Android TV boxes and its director. It said on Thursday (Oct 31) that “erroneous” sentencing submissions by private prosecutors may have resulted in excessive sentences.

Synnex Trading director Jia Xiaofeng at State Courts on Jan 12, 2018.

Synnex Trading director Jia Xiaofeng at State Courts on Jan 12, 2018.

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SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has filed an appeal against the punishment meted out to a company selling Android TV boxes and its director. It said on Thursday (Oct 31) that “erroneous” sentencing submissions by private prosecutors may have resulted in excessive sentences.

In a landmark private prosecution case, Jia Xiaofeng, the director of Synnex Trading which sold Android TV boxes, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and ordered to pay a fine of S$5,400 on Wednesday. The company was fined S$160,800.

Jia and Synnex had pleaded guilty to four criminal charges of copyright infringement, concluding the first case in Singapore where retailers of set-top boxes were hauled to court.

It was launched by telcos Singtel and StarHub, as well as entertainment giant Fox and the organising body of the English Premier League which telecast football matches.

The AGC said on Thursday that the sentencing submissions made by private prosecutors had “relied on a previous decision of the State Courts which had been overruled”, and the sentences may have been “excessive” as a result.

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, the AGC, as the public prosecutor, is allowed to appeal against sentences meted out in private prosecutions.

The court previously heard that the Android TV boxes sold by Synnex came with pre-installed applications, such as HDTV, which are able to stream unauthorised television channels as well as other entertainment and sports content once a buyer activates a subscription.

Besides selling Android TV boxes at his company’s premises in Geylang, Jia would help buyers activate their subscription to the pre-installed applications in the device, or repair defective boxes.

He also supplied Android TV boxes to another retailer, Abdul Nagib Abdul Aziz, and paid him a commission of between S$20 and S$25 for each device sold. The devices automatically stored copies of copyrighted content in their random access memory to speed up the loading of the content.

Abdul Nagib was the director of An-Nahl. He was ordered to pay a fine of S$1,200 in April, while the charges against his company were discharged amounting to an acquittal.

Related topics

Android TV box Synnex Trading copyright court crime entertainment Sports

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