July 15, 2019
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Japanese man wanted for manga piracy arrested in the Philippines

 English version of Japanese manga comic magazines are displayed on the shelves at a bookstore in downtown Tokyo, Japan, 25 August 2008. EPA-EFE FILE/DAI KUROKAWA

English version of Japanese manga comic magazines are displayed on the shelves at a bookstore in downtown Tokyo, Japan, 25 August 2008. EPA-EFE FILE/DAI KUROKAWA

Manila, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Authorities in the Philippines have arrested the alleged mastermind of a website that allowed users access to pirated versions of Japanese manga comics which is estimated to have caused losses worth over $2.9 billion to the sector.

The 28-year-old fugitive, Romi Hoshino, known on the internet as Zakay Romi, was arrested on Sunday at the Manila airport while attempting to board a flight for Hong Kong, according to the Philippines' Bureau of Immigration.

Hoshino is wanted in Japan for massive infringement of copyright laws and is considered the biggest figure in the piracy of manga comics.

After receiving information that Hoshino might be hiding in the Philippines, the Embassy of Japan in Manila sought help from local authorities in locating him. The operation to nab him was carried out in coordination with Tokyo Interpol.

“His presence in the country is a risk to public safety and security,” Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.

Between January 2016 and April 2018, Hoshino ran a website called Manga Mura and allegedly uploaded around 60,000 manga comics and graphic novels on the platform, many of them immediately after publication, with the website receiving an average of 100 million visitors every month.

Hoshino also carries German and Israeli nationalities.

Morente said the Japanese embassy was in touch with the Israeli and German embassies to coordinate his deportation to Japan.

He is currently lodged at the Camp Bagong Diwa detention facility in the Taguig district, east of Manila.

Due to the alleged illegal activities of Manga Mura, manga publishers incurred estimated losses of $2.94, making it the biggest copyright violation case in Japan, according to Japan's Content Overseas Distribution Association. EFE-EPA

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