Megaupload founder was hiding in safe room with shotgun, say New Zealand police

Kim Dotcom arrested after police entered his barricaded mansion founder Kim Dotcom was arrested earlier this week (January 20) after New Zealand police found him hiding in a safe room with a loaded shotgun, according to reports.

Reuters reports that Dotcom – also known as Kim Schmitz – was apprehended following the closure of Megaupload earlier this week, when dozens of police officers and helicopters swarmed his mansion to arrest him for copyright theft.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, notes that Dotcom was holding a loaded shotgun when he was arrested by police, who were forced to cut their way through electronic locks to get to his safe room.

Dotcom has now been charged with operating a criminal enterprise that distributes intellectual property, while police are also said to have seized two firearms and several cars from his property.

Speaking about his arrest, an official for New Zealand’s Organized and Financial Crime Agency said:

Despite our staff clearly identifying themselves, Mr Dotcom retreated into the house and activated a number of electronic-locking mechanisms.

Earlier this week, US federal prosecutors shut down for violating piracy laws. Prosecutors claim that the service has cost copyright holders more than $500 million (£320 million) in lost revenue, although Megaupload claim that they have always been diligent in dealing with any complaints regarding pirated material.

The FBI later described the action against the website as being “amongst the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States” and said it would target “the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime”.

Earlier this week, several websites including Wikipedia temporarily closed down in order to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the proposal from US Congress which aims to thwart online piracy. To read NME‘s explanation of the SOPA bill, click here, and pick up this week’s issue of NME for a detailed report on how the act could affect how you interact online.