Tuesday, March 15, 2005

In Singapore, dirty comics a risky, but profitable, venture

Not one to let go of a juicy story, Singapore's Channel News Asia follows up yesterday's revelation that dirty comics are being rented and sold to minors with a closer look at the Media Development Authority's policing of the apparently X-rated books.

According to today's article, authorities have conducted about 570 raids in the past two years against stores selling pornographic comics, resulting in the seizure of more than 1,400 copies of "undesirable publications." Of those, eight in 10 were X-rated comics.

Under the Undesirable Publications Act, comics that contain nudity, coarse language or explicit vioence are banned, and anyone who sells, rents or exhibits those books can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.

Retailers told Channel News Asia that the potentional for a large profit makes selling X-rated comics worth the risk for some dealers.

"In terms of profits, say for a book that costs $8, I think they (bookstores) will probably make $4," one retailer said. "To them, that is quite a good margin."

He said of the 7,000 comics he imports each month, about 5 percent to 10 percent would be detained by the Media Development Authority for "undesirable" content.