We’re not sure if the cops just really wanted a cup of coffee or if there is some new law that prohibits fake DVDs being sold at ridiculously expensive prices. We are a little late in getting to this — we were enjoying the nice weekend weather — but it was reported over the weekend that authorities in Changning District fined two “coffee clubs” on Wednesday for selling pirated DVDs:
The district cultural product watchdog launched the crackdown against the two stores after receiving tips the cafes were selling pirated DVDs and were frequently visited by foreigners.
The stores were located on Zhenning Road and Ronghua Road E. Police said the wo (sic) Ke De coffee outlets have license to run coffee shops, but not to sell DVDs. They were warned to stick to the limitations of their business license, though the two stores don’t actually sell coffee at the moment.
Police said they would not ignore other pirated DVD stores that operate in the open around the city. The two stores were reportedly very popular with foreigners, which may have made them a target for damaging the city’s eputation (sic).
Undercover investigators even found some store attendants could talk some simple English fluently with their foreign customers.
The horror! How dare they speak English!
Here we learn more shocking news:
It sold a piece of DVD at 10 yuan, compared with other sales spots which sell at 5 yuan. But still many foreigners bought DVDs here because of its sufficient choices and good quality. Some foreigners even drive to the shop with their families.
The stores were reportedly fined RMB 10,000, which they probably made back (and more) Sunday afternoon. (Unless they were shut down. Were they shut down?)
There are a couple threads about this over at ShanghaiExpat.com. They wonder if the original Ka De over on Jinxian Lu was affected by the raid, and some offer a few alternative shops.
You can always shop at Shanghaiist’s apartment building: There are at least three stores selling DVDs downstairs. The quality is usally good, and they won’t charge you 10 kuai, either (unless you look really, really stupid).