China deports convicted American DVD pirate

An American convicted of DVD piracy and sentenced to jail in April by a Shanghai court has been deported, China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Thursday.

Randolph Hobson Guthrie III, an American citizen who had been sentenced to serve a two-and-a-half-year jail term and fined 500,000 renminbi (US$61,652) for selling pirated DVDs, was handed over to the custody of U.S. law enforcement officials, MPS said in a statement.

Guthrie was convicted in April along with three others: two Chinese men, Wu Dong and Wu Shibiao, and an American, Cody Abram Thrush. Guthrie’s accomplices were each sentenced to up to 15 months and fined between 10,000 renminbi and 30,000 renminbi. Thrush was deported from China on July 1, MPS said.

At the time Guthrie and Thrush were sentenced, the Chinese authorities announced they would be deported at the end of their sentences. It appears China opted to deport them earlier, instead. MPS gave no further explanation.

Guthrie and Thrush were arrested as part of a joint Sino-U.S investigation that resulted in the seizure of 210,000 pirated DVDs and US$67,000 and 222,000 renminbi in cash by Chinese police.

During their trial, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court determined that Guthrie and his accomplices had sold 133,000 pirated DVDs worth around 3.3 million renminbi to customers in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia.

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