Digital Underground

Malaysia's attempts to fashion itself into the Silicon Valley of Asia are threatened by a booming piracy industry

Andy Wong / AP

Two black Labradors sit next to a shipment of boxes containing pirated DVDs.

Among tiny Malaysia's legions of civil servants, few are as implacable as Pahamin Rajab, 54, point man in the struggle against digital counterfeiting. Decked out in his trademark bow tie and cowboy hat, the secretary-general of Malaysia's Trade and Consumer-Affairs Ministry recently led 100 security agents on a morning raid through a downtown shopping mall, seizing illegal music, video and computer-software CDs. At one retail booth, a television monitor was advertising bootlegged wares. "Take the TV," he ordered, pointing with his gold-tipped walking stick. "We will be back day after day until they shut down forever."

Tough talk, but Pahamin has...

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