Buying that pirated film DVD or PC game could be promoting a cut-throat business of drugs, money laundering, human trafficking and possibly even murder. 

This weekend's killing of a man possibly suspected of blowing the whistle on a group of alleged DVD pirates raises some chilling questions around the nature of the business DVD piracy syndicates are involved in.
Zulfiqer Ali, a Pakistani national, was gunned down near the Montana Traders Square market on Saturday, and it may have been a hit in revenge for possibly tipping off police about an alleged DVD piracy syndicate.
James Lennox, CEO of Safact (South African Federation against Copyright Theft) says the slaying could have been related to territorial disputes between piracy syndicates operating in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
In addition, there have been a number of police actions in the area recently, which may have heightened tensions.
However, he believes DVD piracy is often the tip of the iceberg and that the same syndicates are sometimes involved in human trafficking, money laundering or drugs.
"People call DVD piracy a victimless crime," says Lennox. "In many instances the profits from illegal DVDs are higher than from drugs. And that money goes straight out of the country."
Just days before Ali was killed, the Pretoria Commercial Crime Unit and members of the Sinoville SAPS, acting on information supplied by Safact, raided two houses in the Montana area of Pretoria.
Last Thursday, five men of Pakistani origin were arrested, having been found to be operating a burner lab producing DVDs containing pirated films and PlayStation games.
In excess of 5 000 DVD-Rs containing approximately 15,000 film and PlayStation game titles, 62 DVD burners, six printers and three computers along with several thousand blank DVD-Rs were seized by the police.
The people arrested are thought to be part of the major pirating organisation working in the Pretoria area and in particular at the Montana Traders Square Market that has been of continuous concern to SAFACT for many years.
Lennox said at the time that it appeared as it one of the kingpins of a criminal organisation had been apprehended and a major source of DVDs containing pirated copies of films has been destroyed.
Lennox added that the seized imported and burned DVDs had a trade value to the pirates of about R450 000.00 and a potential loss to legitimate businesses was in the region of R1,8-million.
The arrested men were released on R10 000.00 bail on Monday.