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Korean custom officials uncover Nintendo piracy ring

According to reports, the Korea Customs Service has discovered a piracy ring thought to have illegally copied millions of dollars worth of Nintendo games and sold them online.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) has uncovered what it believes is a piracy ring dedicated to copying Nintendo games and creating bootleg cartridges to sell online.

25 Korean nationals may face piracy charges

According to the Korea Herald, 25 people were involved in the ring, including 15 online shopping mall managers. The KCS believes the individuals have sold at least 90,000 pirated games and cartridges worth approximately 100 billion won ($87.2 million).

Advertised as "100 percent authentic" with a "perfect after-sales service", the ring is thought to have distributed illegal copies of Nintendo DS games alongside R4, DSTT and DSTTi -- which terminate piracy-prevention programs in Nintendo devices. It has also been alleged that the piracy ring sold cartridge packages and memory cards that could, in theory, could hold up to 300 games.

Each package was apparently sold for 40,000 to 100,000 won ($35 to $87).

The Korean officials say that customers either received the games on memory cards or were asked to download them from file-sharing Web sites.

In order to keep the activity secret, purchase channels were opened through overseas Web sites -- frequently changing IP addresses and managing the ring through Internet cafes. Part-time workers were also hired in order to manage the business.

The operation, involving the effort of 30 investigators, has been running since April.

The Korea Herald reports that the KCS turned over information on the alleged piracy ring members to prosecuting parties on Monday.

"Considering that most of the game users are adolescents and children, such illegal purchases will make the kids less guilty in terms of illegal acts," Customs official Min Byeong-jo told the publication.