Police net cable TV piracy ring

Some 5,000 Rhodes households were left without satellite television yesterday after police on the resort island broke up a gang that sold pirated cable TV subscriptions at a bargain price. Officers from the Attica police electronic crime squad arrested four suspects – three Greeks and a Belgian – who are to be charged today with fraud, tax evasion, and breaches of the law on private TV and copyright. The gang allegedly tapped into coded broadcasts by popular satellite TV firms, such as Nova and Filmnet, and retransmitted the programs to subscribers across the island. Police said the suspects had been active since 1997, and had made several million euros from the scam. The gang offered satellite TV subscriptions at a considerable discount – at 33 euros a month, some 20 euros cheaper than the legitimate Nova rate – while charging their customers 150-180 euros for the decoding equipment. It is unclear whether subscribers were aware of the fiddle. The electronic crime squad has also broken a large number of Internet child porn rings in recent months.