Manga Mura administrator was taken into custody in the Philippines two months ago.

In early June, Romi Hoshino, also known as Zakay Romi, was arrested in the Philippines in connection with his role as administrator of Manga Mura, the highest-profile website for Japanese-language pirated manga. Though the site had been shut down in April of 2018, after being active since at least 2016, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration called the 27-yead-old Hoshino “a risk to public safety and security.”

As of September 24, Hoshino is back in Japan, courtesy of a forcible repatriation flight from Manilla to Narita International Airport, east of Tokyo. Hoshino was seated in the center of a contingent of Japanese police officers, who placed him under formal arrest the moment the plane crossed into Japanese airspace.

▼ Hoshino arrives in Japan

After landing at Narita, a second flight took Hoshino to Fukuoka, where he is currently being held at a prefectural police facility within Fukuoka City. He has yet to issue a plea in regards to the charges of copyright violation stemming from Manga Mura’s unauthorized collection of 50,000 manga and magazines, saying that he will be entering a formal plea after discussing the case with his legal counsel.

Atsushi Ito, the chairman of the anti-piracy division of Japan’s Publishing and Advertising Center (an industry interest group founded by Japanese publishing companies), reacted to Hoshino’s repatriation by saying:

“Manga Mura, the worst pirate site in history, caused great damage to the culture of publishing and all authors. Through [Hoshino’s] arrest, I hope that the site’s sources of income and methods of operation will be thoroughly exposed, and that no other such site will ever arise.”

Considering the resilience of piracy as a whole, Ito’s hopes might be too lofty to fully realize, but Hoshino’s arrest is yet another example that Japanese publishers and law enforcement aren’t going to start taking a lenient approach to piracy anytime soon.

Source: NHK News Web via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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