Video footage reveals armed raid on MegaUpload founder's home

By on August 9, 2012, 4:00 PM

New Zealand-based news channel 3News has released new video footage of the armed raid launched against Kim Dotcom, MegaUpload's former head man. The video was courtesy of an "elite officer" involved in the operation and supports Dotcom's criticism of the "aggressive" raid performed on his $30 million New Zealand mansion.

The bust was comprised of about 100 officers, some of which wielded glock handguns and automatic assault weapons like the Colt Commando M4. The initial assault team was swiftly dropped in by helicopter at the front of the home. Moments later, additional forces surrounded the mansion on foot, complete with ground vehicles and canine units.

Inside the home were roughly a dozen people: former employees, friends, Dotcom's wife and children. 

Not knowing what was happening, Dotcom claims he isolated himself inside a large, unlocked room with his hands in the air. His goal, he recollected, was to avoid being shot by startling one of the armed invaders. Once authorities found Dotcom, he purports they applied questionable force, punching him in the face, kneeing  his ribs, kicking him to the ground and rupturing one of Dotcom's fingernails by standing on the man's hand.

I have to admit, for capturing a non-violent copyright criminal, the show of force sounds quite excessive.

During the raid, police managed to seize 18 vehicles and roughly $42 million in suspected ill-gotten gains. Confiscated vehicles included such extravagant makes Maserati, a Lamborghini and Rolls Royce. The Rolls Royce had a license plate that read, "GOD".

Regardless of feelings for Kim Dotcom, his truly excessive lifestyle and MegaUpload's supposed "business" model, it does appear authorities overstepped their boundaries. Recently, a New Zealand judge ruled that the warrants given to authorities were too vague to have legally carried out the operation. It also appears New Zealand officers managed to miss their mark of "matching the threat level" of Kim Dotcom and his crew.

During the hearing, authorities were criticized for brandishing such force without wearing full body armor -- a sign that officers knew to expect little resistance. When asked about this, an officer responded:

"We wanted to match the threat level, in this case a low threat with our dress," he added "We made that conscious decision not to wear full tactical kit."

The officer also stated that the team's primary objective was to "secure [the] suspect as soon as possible to prevent destruction of evidence". However, according to Dotcom's defense, the FBI had already secured the data they needed at the data center before the raid unfolded. Dotcom insisted, "there was no chance of anyone doing anything to that evidence."




User Comments: 44

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL..."rupturing one of his fingernails?" Poor baby - hope he had a Band aid handy.

KG363 KG363 said:

Welcome to the 21st century

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I thought he ran into a safe room. What is the point of having an unlocked safe room?

While I agree that the response was probably a bit much, he brought this onto himself. The US government hates it when people flaunt breaking the law (I'm not making a morality judgment on the law itself, just that it exists).

He probably would not have been met with this level of response if he didn't flaunt his "ill gotten" gains so much. People want to say that piracy is not done for profit, but he seems to have made quite a bit of money on it, and his exorbitant lifestyle just gives more fuel for the RIAA.

I'm honestly surprised how much the online community is treating him like a hero. He provided a service, but by no means unique, and he just brought more attention to the scene than it already had.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The amount of force there was ridiculous. It's a shame that so many countries ask "how high?" when the US tells them to jump.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Every time they squash a bug, 10 more will pop up.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

I thought he ran into a safe room. What is the point of having an unlocked safe room?

[link]

Guest said:

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gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Cool thanks. I only read about it before, and he said he ran into a safe room, with no other description beyond that, so I assumed he was locked in there.

wastedkill said:

I thought he ran into a safe room. What is the point of having an unlocked safe room?

While I agree that the response was probably a bit much, he brought this onto himself. The US government hates it when people flaunt breaking the law (I'm not making a morality judgment on the law itself, just that it exists).

He probably would not have been met with this level of response if he didn't flaunt his "ill gotten" gains so much. People want to say that piracy is not done for profit, but he seems to have made quite a bit of money on it, and his exorbitant lifestyle just gives more fuel for the RIAA.

I'm honestly surprised how much the online community is treating him like a hero. He provided a service, but by no means unique, and he just brought more attention to the scene than it already had.

How exactly was his gains "ill gotten" and why not flaunt? doubt you would be able to cope with loads of expensive goodies you've always wanted there for the taking when your full of cash. Hes not a hero just a good service provider like google and microsoft but much better with a better way for content makers (music, tv etc) able to get there stuff out of the site only people that had a problem is government.

He brought nothing on himself the US broke there own laws and can you also explain what laws he broke?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"He brought nothing on himself the US broke there own laws and can you also explain what laws he broke?"

Oh, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the tens of thousands of illegal copyrighted files he was making available to millions of people to download for free. MegaUpLoad was well known as one of the top piracy hosting websites in the world.

wastedkill said:

"He brought nothing on himself the US broke there own laws and can you also explain what laws he broke?"

Oh, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the tens of thousands of illegal copyrighted files he was making available to millions of people to download for free. MegaUpLoad was well known as one of the top piracy hosting websites in the world.

Ye your right the DMCA law doesn't exist any more and he should have just broken tons of laws to look at the users files.. oh and how does microsoft, google, youtube, MediaFire, rapidshare etc differentiate themselves from megaupload in the illegal copyrighted files/media area, why haven't they been taken down as well? pretty sure google themselves are 10x bigger than megaupload yet they are still up.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

How exactly was his gains "ill gotten" and why not flaunt? doubt you would be able to cope with loads of expensive goodies you've always wanted there for the taking when your full of cash. Hes not a hero just a good service provider like google and microsoft but much better with a better way for content makers (music, tv etc) able to get there stuff out of the site only people that had a problem is government.

He brought nothing on himself the US broke there own laws and can you also explain what laws he broke?

He was hosting files that were in violation of US copyright laws. Nothing complex there. You seriously don't see why the RIAA and by extension the US gov't had a problem? The content makers did not give him permission. You think millions of people went to Megaupload to download indie music albums? Seriously?

"The only people that had a problem is government"

Yeah, the "only people". Seriously? The "only" people he pissed off was the most powerful gov't on the planet, that apparently has enough pull to make NZ violate its own constitution. Still want to use the word "only"?

Look I am not making a judgement call against what he did. I've downloaded and copied plenty of stuff over the past few decades. The first software I ever used was a copy of an old cassette tape filled with games, 30 years ago.

He violated US copyright laws, and the US has been shutting sites like that left and right. And instead of quietly taking that money, he rented the biggest mansion in NZ, and had a license plate that said God.

Before you get all in my face with your anger, l don't care what he did. There is a difference between stating facts and making value judgments. I very clearly said I was not judging him, but what do you care, you need to vent your righteous indignation at someone, right?

He thumbed his nose at the US gov't and now he got slapped. His wealth was based on illegal actions. As bad as dealing heroin? No. But illegal nonetheless. Its called a consequence. And this isn't his first brush with the law, he's been constantly in trouble with them on many continents.

Its simple, there are people who think that laws don't apply to them. And there are those who like to thumb their noses at authority. And then there are those who do both.

Carlo Gambino lived in the same house he always did, and he died in his bed. John Gotti liked to wear flashy suits in front of TV cameras, and he died in prison. See the difference? The government does not like it when you publicly thumb your nose at them. This is what they do. They show the world that they can wield that power. That's all.

He should have been smarter, kept his money hidden and kept a low profile. He didn't and now he's going to be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

Guest said:

This whole thing is a big joke. Might as well have sent a tank in as well. For anyone not taking Kim Dotcom side you must be blinded by government corruption.

wastedkill said:

I can understand if he himself had files hosted by "Owner of Megaupload" but all I see is the government not thinking right ye megaupload did host files but did they upload them? no the users did same thing goes for youtube and google drive etc users upload bad stuff on the sites so what can you do, nothing in fact except give the tools and delete illegal files when you see them.

Ye megaupload had illegal files but what file host doesn't google, microsoft, rapidshare etc all have illegal content hosted on their sites and without breaking laws they cant look into the files without breaking a few privacy laws, keeping your money hidden.. really that would help? in what country would keeping your money hidden equal to being more hidden so you don't get caught I can see google, microsoft are doing that very well.

not sure if amazon has a service like rapidshare, megaupload but if they did then they would still have illegal content hosted on there servers.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

"full body armor for a fat guy" wow... can they just knock on the door and say "you are under arrest?" they might have ready a nuclear missile just to be sure... talk about exaggeration..

ramonsterns said:

LOL..."rupturing one of his fingernails?" Poor baby - hope he had a Band aid handy.

Yeah, forget the part where he's pinned down and getting beaten, or the part where they raided his home.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I can understand if he himself had files hosted by "Owner of Megaupload" but all I see is the government not thinking right ye megaupload did host files but did they upload them? no the users did same thing goes for youtube and google drive etc users upload bad stuff on the sites so what can you do, nothing in fact except give the tools and delete illegal files when you see them.

Ye megaupload had illegal files but what file host doesn't google, microsoft, rapidshare etc all have illegal content hosted on their sites and without breaking laws they cant look into the files without breaking a few privacy laws, keeping your money hidden.. really that would help? in what country would keeping your money hidden equal to being more hidden so you don't get caught I can see google, microsoft are doing that very well.

not sure if amazon has a service like rapidshare, megaupload but if they did then they would still have illegal content hosted on there servers.

I am just trying to explain to you why this happened. I am not condoning it, just giving an explanation. You seem to be blaming me for it.

Do you grasp the notion of explaining something without necessarily agreeing with it?

You want to have a grown up discussion, that's fine, but I don't need to be yelled at by some angry child.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Yeah, forget the part where he's pinned down and getting beaten, or the part where they raided his home.

You won't find many people in the country (New Zealand) that are all the perturbed about the use of force tbh. Too soon after Jan Molenaar. Cops getting gunned down might be de rigueur in some countries, but dying for serving a warrant on a penny-ante dope dealer likely to get a few months in jail (if that) tended to bring into stark relief that the community constable approach has a serious downside when dealing with unknown quantities.

The country has had twenty-nine police officers killed in the line of duty, so not a regular occurance- and more to the point, police inquiries and public sentiment tend to claim more than their pound of flesh.

RH00D RH00D said:

"He brought nothing on himself the US broke there own laws and can you also explain what laws he broke?"

Oh, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the tens of thousands of illegal copyrighted files he was making available to millions of people to download for free. MegaUpLoad was well known as one of the top piracy hosting websites in the world.

Might want to check your facts, there was a graph that showed which sites had the most infringing files being hosted on them and Megaupload was like 4th or 5th on the list, even though it was the largest file-sharing site of them all (ten or so). Which clearly means Megaupload was doing a very effective job of removing infringing links if they are biggest site and don't have the most infringing links. Also, Megaupload offered a tool that allowed copyright holders to remove the links themselves, up to a couple thousand per day.

Guest said:

You won't find many people in the country (New Zealand) that are all the

perturbed about the use of force tbh.

Good to know you side with the animals.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

"God" got owned

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Good to know you side with the animals.

I sense that you dont. Presumeably you side with the vegetables.

Strangely enough, wealthy foreigner who punks his neighbours and makes a living from in industry that a large majority of people have no understanding of, doesn't rate highly in the national conciousness- go figure.

Of course the tipping point for a non-gun-happy society is when you get national headlines like " [link] "

Chris Just Chris Just said:

For those that think this was a lawful action, I hope they come knocking and kick down your door with automatic weapons pointed in your face, with dogs and all that come with it! I hope they treat you like a terrorist! The only crooks here is the media corporations and there thug government watch dogs! You know the ones that say if you download a copy of a CD worth no more then $15 you owe them millions! When someone could steal a high end sports car and wreck it and pay less in restitution. The ones that sell you unfinished video games that crash 20 time in a day some time wrecking your gaming console in some cases (think they reimburse you when there negligence and greed cause you damage?) , the ones with terrible storylines and unfinished endings there all the reasons I torrent to make sure I Don't get ripped off any more. As you can see from my profile photo I buy more media then any one I know. I have 6 more bookshelf's like it in my house filled with CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray's, Computer programs and games for every console gaming system out, I even own 3 or 4 copy's of some for each system I own! Even my Raptr accounts lists I have over 400 payed for games and it is only seeing around 30% of what I own. It is a known fact people who torrent spend more money on media then those that don't!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

For those that think this was a lawful action, [rant deleted]

There is a difference between acknowledging that a law was broken and agreeing with the law.

If you lack the skills to differentiate then perhaps you should refrain from going on off people.

Chris Just Chris Just said:

As far as I see he broke no law he owns a legitimate server company that allows others to upload files legal or not! It is the people that made the copy's and shared them that broke the law not him. when 100,000s of files are uploaded each day there is no way to make sure there legitimate or not would take more man power then they could ever afford.

hitech0101 said:

Is this a way of sending a message to other pirates ?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

As far as I see he broke no law he owns a legitimate server company that allows others to upload files legal or not! It is the people that made the copy's and shared them that broke the law not him. when 100,000s of files are uploaded each day there is no way to make sure there legitimate or not would take more man power then they could ever afford.

Here you go, read away.

[link]

Chris Just Chris Just said:

Wikipedia where anyone can write and change things as they see it? No thank you!

Chris Just Chris Just said:

Go check out the Criminal defence action area on on the link you just sent it is EZ to say what you want there as long as it is true or what you perceive to be true.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Go check out the Criminal defence action area on on the link you just sent it is EZ to say what you want there as long as it is true or what you perceive to be true.

You really don't read too good do you?

All I did was explain why the US took him down. If you're too dense to see the difference between explaining what legal basis the US used, and me agreeing with it, then go to 4chan and ***** about it there.

Chris Just Chris Just said:

"Here you go, read away," is what you said! You did not explain anything.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Here you go, read away," is what you said! You did not explain anything.

Yeah read away. Form your own opinion based on the evidence. You keep insisting that what the he did was not illegal. I pointed you to a source which explains the US government's position. You also got to read the other side of the story, why what he did was not illegal.

Now you're informed.

Like I keep repeating, I'm not judging him for his actions inherently.

The only opinion I interjected into my explanation, using the contrasting examples of Carlo Gambino and John Gotti, was that the US government tends to go after people who stick out more. One thing they love to do is take down people who think they're above the law. The law that they promulgate and interpret. That's why when the US government actually decides to take notice of you and basically tell you that you are now their enemy, you shouldn't take that threat lightly because they will go to a very liberal country like NZ, where Dotcom obviously felt he was safe, and flex their power. This was as much as show of force as anything.

Again, I don't agree or disagree with what the US gov't did, just explaining their motivations. Just like I can explain the motivations of the Black Panthers or the KKK without being the member of either group.

My opinion of him is that he should have kept a lower profile and he probably wouldn't have been taken down in such a fashion. But that's neither here nor there.

Leeky Leeky said:

Let's tone it down a little please. People are entitled to give an opinion without being insulted for doing so. Any more personal flaming or insults and I'll start removing posts.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Its simple, there are people who think that laws don't apply to them. And there are those who like to thumb their noses at authority. And then there are those who do both.

.

And there are people that don't agree with the laws and use action, not words, to show thier displeasure.

Tygerstrike said:

Ok lets try and clear this up for the more dense posters out there. Yes DotCom is accussed of copyright infringment. But its the very same media that is being bashed thats reporting that, that is all he is being arrested for. Did everyone miss the embezzelment that DotCom did? Did everyone miss out on how although he may have not uploaded the files, he did facilitate a services that allowed other ppl to break the Law. Which makes him just as guilty. I can give a example.

Person 1 wants crack

person 2 sells crack

person 3 moves crack from person 2 to person 1.

Easy right? He is just as guilty as both the ppl who downloaded copyrighted material to his site and from his site. He created a service that allowed others to break the Law. You may not agree with what the NZ and US govt is doing, but he brought it on himself. Im 1000% sure that MegaUploads lawyers told him all this before he was ever arrested. So none of this should be a shock to him.

Guest said:

even if he did dodge taxes or did money laundering, thats freaken excessive! that many cops just to arrest a fat guy like him? poor docom!

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That was a very excessive show of force, especially since their main concern was that he would delete the evidence that they already took?

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As far as I see he broke no law...

I feel the same way... I think the "law" is punishing the wrong people. "Making Available" is nonsense. I think that the Media corps need to prove that the file was taken in a way that reduced their profits. I.E. Show that the person who downloaded the file had the means and the want to pay for the files but for other reasons chose not to. These big Media corporations sponsored the "laws" that are being enforced. I think that is ridiculous that courts are asked to find if a business (as shady as MegaUpload is) is responsible for sharing files when the users of those files are the criminals.

Why don't they go after the real criminals? RIAA tried that and spent $18M to return $0.4M, from citizens like you, who use files that they download without license to use. It's simply not as profitable. So big Media corps sponsored the US Senators whom wrote these laws designed to make bigger fish for them to catch.

Guest said:

Not paying money were money is wanted, is enough to make a criminal out of an honest person.

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, when are the rest who are being screwed out of our money going to fight back?

bexwhitt said:

One thing for sure Kim Dotcom has a serious lack of taste

Guest said:

@Gwailo, I don't think you are actually explaining anything.

You express your personal opinion forcefully, but with a complete lack of substantiating evidence to support your opinions, and speak in a patronizing, if not downright disrespectful fashion to your audience.

The assumptions regarding your own technical skill level and grasp of the situation are kind of funny, and unjustified.

I'd recommend that you research "critical thinking", followed by "logical fallacy".

Here, let me Google that for you:

http://goo.gl/INIQG

http://goo.gl/8ZDHv

I fail to see any correlation between his lifestyle and the legality of his hosting service. I see no evidence that his flashy lifestyle determined whether the US Government was going to arrest him or not.

It's possible that his lifestyle contributed to the severity of the raid, but I doubt it.

The Feds went after him because the RIAA and the MPIAA asked them to, and they wanted to make an example of him because his service was the most prominent.

The Feds have a history of making an example out of the top dog in a particular scene when sufficiently well-heeled corporations ask them to, regardless how extravagant that individual's lifestyle is.

They run somebody up the flag pole, because it discourages everyone else involved in that scene, and it's satisfying to the special interests that are demanding the arrest.

Witness the take down of D.o.D. The members weren't living an extravagent lifestyle - they didn't profit from those activities at all. It didn't make a difference at all.

They could have chosen a more unethical group, that actually made money from the scene, or knowingly distributed files infected with viruses or malware, but they didn't. They targeted a largely inactive group simply because of how famous, prominent, and well-regarded they were.

Witness the sentencing of Kevin Mitnick - was he profiting from his activities, or causing real and substantial harm to Sun or Oracle? No, he was simply legendary at the time and a powerful corporation asked them to make an example of him. They concocted a ridiculous damage estimate for his crime, and it was upheld with little challenge.

Dirtbags involved in trading credit cards will not be subject to the same degree of severity unless credit card companies pressure the Feds to make an example out of them.

Guest said:

@Gwailo -

Another point I'd like to make is that I didn't see anyone attacking you or being disrespectful or "yelling" (via text? on a webpage? really?) at you, but I did witness you being disrespectful on multiple occasions.

It would seem that you feel rather passionate about upholding the rule of law, and that's fine I guess.

I also understood that you are explaining the situation to us (as if we need assistance with basic reasoning, and as if you are qualified or possessed of the mental resources to do so), and personally I'm pretty irked by your less than adult conversational style.

And with that I'm dropping the issue.

Guest said:

Well, OK...one last point ;-)

I'm not condoning illegal activity. Regardless of the fairness of the current laws, which have largely rendered the DMCA irrelevant, as well as destroyed Fair Use, if something is illegal, it's illegal.

Does that mean that a defenseless computer geek needs to have paratroopers armed with assault rifles punching his unresistant face?

Couldn't the officers just knocked on his door?

It was a media stunt. Grand standing for the benefit of corporations.

This kind of macho overkill for the benefit of corporate interests is getting pretty tiring.

Legislation at the expense of our civil liberties for the benefit of corporate interests is getting pretty tiring.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

@Gwailo, I don't think you are actually explaining anything.

I think Gwailo was hoping the information in the linked articles would be self-explanatory, on the assumption that they would be read & understood.

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