Malaysia gives medals to disc-sniffers
PUTRAJAYA: It is a dog’s life for disc-sniffing mutts Lucky and Flo.
But what a life! After a hectic round of Asia – starting with Malaysia – and flushing out pirated discs and peddlers in their wake, the four-legged duo are now headed for New York on another tour of duty and then, Toronto.
To top it all, the pair of globetrotting black Labrador Retrievers have received commendation medals from the Government – the first honour ever for the dogs, in fact any dog, in Malaysia – for their “outstanding achievement” in combating piracy.
Typical of celebrities, the dogs even had their paw prints preserved in plaster for posterity.
It almost makes it worth the 10kg each dog has lost since arriving here in March. They each used to weigh about 38kg.
Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk S. Veerasingam said: “They are the inspiration for the newly established canine unit in the ministry’s enforcement unit.
“For a start, we have a team of four officers and two dogs to sniff out pirates. These dogs are currently undergoing training.”
Veerasingam had the honour of draping the commendation medals on the dogs that appeared to be pleased judging from their wagging tails.
Since arriving on March 13, Flo and Lucky’s work has resulted in 26 arrests and the seizure of 1.6 million pieces of pirated discs worth some RM22.8mil, three DVD replicating machines, two VCD machines, 97 CD-Recordable burners and 30,000 empty CD-Rs.
Their success in anti-piracy efforts was evident from the RM100,000 bounty placed on their heads and the “tail” put on them by local syndicates since their arrival.
Veerasingam said the dogs had been good visitors to the country. He jokingly added that Malaysia would have accorded them permanent residency, only they did not apply for it.
The canines’ biggest bust was on March 19 in Johor Baru, when they led officers to a cache of one million pirated discs worth RM10mil.
Trained to detect the presence of polycarbonate and other chemicals in the discs, the dogs took only about 10 minutes to check boxes that security officials would need a day to examine.
Motion Picture Association Asia-Pacific director for operations Edward Neubronner said anti-piracy efforts had clearly boosted local cinema.
“In 2004, there were 59 cinemas with 216 movie screens. Now, we have 71 cinemas with 326 screens. This year’s top three movies grossed more than RM10mil in box-office takings,” he said.