Lik-Sang Closes, Takes Swipe at Sony

Hong Kong-based grey market gaming goods importer Lik-Sang made its money selling Asian-market gaming goods at a premium in Europe and other markets; earlier this month, it was dealt a crushing blow by a British judge who ruled the company could not import the Japanese version of Sony’s PlayStation Portable into Europe, citing consumer safety concerns. The ruling put the kibosh on Lik-Sang’s plans to import PlayStation 3 consoles in the Europe well in advance of the systems’ official European launch in March, 2007.

Now, Lik-Sang has announced it is going out of business, citing multiple lawsuits filed against it by Sony. The company says it is not accepting any new orders, and will issue refunds for unshipped orders. The company says it is moving to close out accounts with banks, stores, and suppliers, and will work with customers currently waiting on RMAs, repairs, or other shipping matters.

In its shutdown announcement, Lik-Sang noted that Sony Europe’s “top directors” repeatedly purchased PSP hardware and software through Lik-Sang, beginning just two days after the systems’ release in Japan…then proceeded to name selected Sony employees who had ordered PSP gear. For its part, Sony dismisses the revelation as a childish antic, characterizing the move to the BBC as “sour grapes” and also noting that, by revealing the names of its customers, Lik-Sang may have violated privacy and data protection laws. In any case, Sony says the purchases were purely for investigative purposes to check the nature of the goods Lik-Sang was offering for sale.

The Lik-Sang shutdown has European gamers up in arms, arguing they shouldn’t be prevented from paying a premium to import goods from Asian markets. In any case, Sony’s pursuit of Lik-Sang has generated more ill-will for the Japanese electronics manufacturer, which has been repeatedly hit with bad news this year, including a massive outcry over copy-protected audio CDs which exposed Windows users to security risks, the recall of nearly 10 million notebook computer batteries, and the repeated delay of its much-anticipated PlayStation 3 gaming console.

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