The mastermindsbehind a criminal syndicate that pirated tens of millions of optical discs havebeen sentenced to six and a half years each in prison.

In the harshestprison sentences ever awarded in a piracy case, Hong Kong's High Court jailedhusband and wife Tsoi Kei Lung and Ng Kam Fung following a global manhunt thatlasted two and a half years.

Tsoi and Ng wereoriginally arrested in Hong Kong in 1998 when officers seized more than 22millegal discs manufactured by the piracy operation they ran called GoldenScience Technology.

The pair jumped bail prior to their trial in 2001, howeverTsoi was eventually caught in a raid in Lanzhou City, China, while his wife Ngwas arrested by the Mounties in Vancouver, Canada.

Both wereextradited to Hong Kong to face trial, which concluded earlier this week (19)with their convictions.

"By issuing sixand a half year jail sentences, Hong Kong's High Court affirmed the seriousnessof optical disc piracy and its organised criminal nature," Mike Ellis, the MPAA'ssenior vice president of the Asia-Pacific region, said in a statement.

"Tsoi and Ngwere leading an extensive piracy ring and deserve to be behind bars."

Tsoi's arrest inChina was the result of a multi-agency collaboration involving China's PublicSecurity Police, Interpol China and Hong Kong's Independent Commission AgainstCorruption (ICAC).