Police Arrest Zimbabweans For Buying OpenView Decoders Following Raids
The Zimbabwe Republic Police arrested 11 people and seized dozens of OpenView decoders following raids conducted in Beitbridge in the last two weeks.
The individuals arrested were trying to bring the OpenView decoders into Zimbabwe from South Africa or were already selling them in Zimbabwe.
They are alleged to be part of a cross border smuggling ring which was bringing the OpenView decoders into Zimbabwe.
The free-to-air satellite provider is very popular among Zimbabweans as it offers a range of channels, including eTV and the SABC channels, without any subscription.
However, OpenView is only licenced to operate in South Africa. OpenView has repeatedly threatened to block the decoders used outside the borders of South Africa but is yet to make good on the threats.
The company has commended the Zimbabwe Republic Police for arresting the people bringing the decoders into the country, warning that they were engaging in content piracy.
Antonio Lee, the COO of Openview parent company eMedia, warned that selling or having an illegal decoder in your home can lead to arrest. He told The Herald,
“We commend the Zimbabwe police on their detective work in breaking the smuggling ring and making the arrests.”
“We are working with law enforcement in several SADC countries to share information about illegal trade in our decoders. We look forward to more major busts and more arrests being made soon.
“Anyone purchasing an Openview decoder in Zimbabwe is robbing the country of customs duties.
“They can expect no after-sales service. Also, Zimbabwe’s TV professionals suffer when viewers watch foreign content instead of home-made Zimbabwean shows.”
Lee added that his company supports the raids and warned Zimbabweans not to buy the OpenView decoders.
“Openview supports these raids, and we take this issue extremely seriously.
“Pirating content using our devices is illegal. Both retailers and viewers are guilty of crimes. Having an illegal decoder in your store or in your home means you can be arrested at any time and prosecuted.”
He also reiterated the company’s claims that those using the decoders outside South Africa may be switched off and blocked anytime.
“Several national and international laws are being broken if you use pirate decoders. You will get no customer support, they can be switched off at any time, and you are engaging in illegal, criminal activity that makes you liable to arrest and prosecution.”
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