THE PREMIER League has issued a “stark warning” over an illegal streaming operation in Vietnam used by nearly a million people.

Illegal streamer BestBuy IPTV had 900,000 customers around the world and broadcast England’s top flight football league.

People could illegally stream the Premier League on BestBuy IPTVCredit: Alamy

But those days are gone after Vietnamese authorities crushed the service by arresting owner Le Hai Nam and handing him a 30-month jail sentence.

The Hanoi man was also ordered to pay fines totalling £21,000.

Streamers using IPTV were paying only £40 a year and could watch over 10,000 channels.

Many use it as a way to bypass the 3pm blackout on a Saturday, while also avoiding the huge subscription fees demanded by the likes of Sky Sports and TNT Sport.

It marked Vietnam’s first-ever criminal sentence for online copyright infringement.

“The defendant has violated the provisions of the law which protect the copyright and related rights of the Motion Picture Association’s members and the English Premier League,” said Judge Le Hai Yen of the Hanoi People’s Court.

“[Such crimes are] a danger to society and needed to be strictly enforced and prosecuted. [The case should] serve as a deterrent to others.”

The Premier League’s General Counsel, Kevin Plumb, said: “This result should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in the illegal supply of Premier League streams in Vietnam.”

Beyond the 900,000 streamers were 12,000 resellers, and 2,000 re-streamers around the world.

The service was reportedly popular in the UK and Europe.

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According to a report published in 2023 by the US Trade Representative, “BestBuy IPTV offers illicit IPTV channels from broadcasters globally, and it is compatible with most platforms and operating systems.”

In the UK, the police’s main line of investigation targets sellers.

But those who buy modified streaming gadgets have been warned they face different potentially devastating consequences including data theft, fraud and malware.

“Illegal streaming is a huge issue for the industry and while it may seem like a low-risk, high-reward crime, the proceeds are used to fund other serious forms of criminal activity,” said Detective Chief Inspector Emma Warbey, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police.

“At the same time, it can expose end users to the risks of data theft, fraud and malware.

“By targeting grassroots sellers, we are sending out a clear message that this will not be tolerated.

“PIPCU will continue to work with partners across law enforcement and the industry to take action against those who provide illegal streaming services and protect consumers against the risks associated with using them.”

But one UK barrister has warned fans to be wary if streaming illegally.

Lynette Calder said: “For more serious and organised offending that went to the Crown Court, you are talking up to a maximum of 10 years in prison if the charge is under section 7, or five years for section 6 and 11.

“Why take the risk? If you can’t afford the streaming service for Premier League, then why not find yourself a pub that can.”

£1million Firestick Pemier League Scheme

Shrewsbury man Steven Mills was sentenced to two and a half years prison after his operation earned him £1million over five years.

Mills produced modified Amazon Fire Sticks that allowed people to stream football and access top TV content and sold them via a Facebook group,

Fire Sticks offer users instant access to TV shows from a range of paid streaming apps, such as Prime VideoNetflix and Disney+.

A number of suspected sellers have already been sent “cease and desist” letters recently.

People could watch over £10,000 channels with a BestBuy IPTV subscriptionCredit: Alamy

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