Sexy Photos Gate

"Sexy Photos Gate" is the name that mainland Chinese netizens have given to the case of the Edison Chen photographs.  The following is the collection of entries in chronological order.

Day #0 (01/28/2008)

The discussion forum servers are being overwhelmed today by the massive traffic surge in pursuit of this news story.  Forum posts are being deleted as quickly as they are posted.
Here is the mainstream media report (Ming Pao via

Recently, people have been posting a simulated photograph of Emperor Entertainment Group artistes Gillian Chung and Edison Chen in bed.  Emperor Entertainment Group has filed a police report.  According to the Emperor Entertainment Group spokesman, that photograph had been manipulated and the person in the photograph was not Gillian Chung.  Therefore, they have filed a report with the police as well as asked their lawyer to seek legal redress.  The spokesperson also said that they have begun an investigation.  When they find the source, they will take legal action.  The spokesperson also reminded people that it is illegal to publicly show pornographic photographs.  The spokesperson called on everybody to cease showing or forwarding the relevant photograph to avoid legal trouble.

This story has already gone through several stages.  At first, someone posted a fuzzy photograph of two persons: a man who looks like Edison Chen and a woman who looks like Gillian Chung.  The woman in the photograph showed her right nipple as well as her vagina.  So was it really those two?  Netizens began a debate over the authenticity of the photograph.  Some Photoshop experts thought that it was nearly impossible to fake a fuzzy photograph because it is hard to reproduce the noise in the background in a consistent way.  Other people thought that the photograph seemed fake. 
Then there were other netizens who chose to do detective work on the background shown in the photograph.  Was this the bedroom of Edison Chen?  There was a bed, some stuffed animals, a bed post, a wall poster, etc.  Does anyone have a photograph of the bedroom of Edison Chen?  Someone went to YouTube and pulled down an Edison Chen video with a brief shot of a bedroom (which may or may not be his bedroom).  A comparison showed some similarities, but it is far from identical (e.g. there is a wall poster, but it is a different one; there are stuffed animals but they aren't the same ones; etc).  Another netizen looked at the bottom of the woman's foot and compared it against known photographs of Gillian Chung, and determined the calluses and toes were different.
Later in the day, another photograph emerged.  This one is of a woman who looks like female singer Bobo Chan fellating a man who looks like Edison Chen.   Now you see why the Hong Kong discussion forums have imploded today.
Are you one of the few people in Hong Kong who haven't seen those photographs yet?  Well, you will have to look elsewhere because I am not posting them here.  I am telling you about this story so that you can prepare yourself for tomorrow's newspaper coverage.  Will you see this as the front page story due to the insatiable, unrestrainable appetite for lurid sensationalism?  Or will you see nothing at all due to self-censorship and/or fear at offending the Emperor Entertainment Group?

Day #1 (01/29/2008)  As I predicted yesterday, the so-called Edison Chen/Gillian Chung/Bobo Chan "photographs" made the front pages of some of the Hong Kong newspapers.





(Apple Daily; Apple Daily

The storm broke at around 8pm on the evening before yesterday.  A netizen posted a photograph of a man and a woman in bed at the Hong Kong Discussion Forum.  These two bore some resemblance to Edison Chen and Gillian Chung.  Other netizens began to spread that photograph to their friends and other forums.  At the Hong Kong Golden Forum, more than 2,000 people posted comments within a period of five hours.  At around 3am, another photograph appeared showing a man and a woman engaged in a sexual act.  The two bore some resemblance to Edison Chen and Bobo Chan.  There is now a third photograph showing a woman who bore some resemblance to Cecilia Chung.


Police are investigating the case of an allegedly obscene photo of singer-actress Gillian Chung Yan-tung circulating on the internet.  Emperor Entertainment (Hong Kong) Limited issued a statement yesterday saying it had found a photo of Chung, which was computer-modified to put her face on a half-naked girl, on the Web.   "We are tracking down the source of the circulation, the circulator and the downloader," Emperor Entertainment said. "Any distribution, downloading, transference or publication of the image is illegal.  We have already passed the case to lawyers to follow up. If the distributor or upload person [of the image] is confirmed, we will seek court action."  Lawyer Wong Kwok-tung said uploading a computerised photo that degraded Chung could be criminal defamation.  "Gillian Chung's image is that of a decent celebrity, and this act obviously is meant to degrade her. It can be a criminal offence," he said.  Mr Wong said it was not difficult to trace the source of the distribution of the image, but downloaders of the image should bear no responsibility.  "The Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance penalises only the people who publicise the image, but there is no penalty for [obtaining it]," he said.

The photographs purportedly first appeared at an overseas website (  Therefore, the Hong Kong police would have to go through InterPol to obtain the information on the uploader.  However, the Hong Kong police should be able to find the person who posted the photographs at the Hong Kong Discussion Forum (

Here are the Taiwan newspapers that had this story on their front pages:


Here are the cropped sections of the two photographs as published in the Hong Kong/Taiwan newspapers.  The cropping was done in order to adhere to the laws regarding obscene materials.

For mainland China coverage, see NetEase.  Where does this fit in the campaign against "pornographic and illegal" websites?

Day #2 (01/30/2008) 

Day two of this serial drama continued with a photograph of a female who resembles actress Cecilia Cheung appearing at 12:30am.  The female appeared to be masturbating.  Then at around 3:30pm, someone using the email posted at a series of four more photographs of a male who resembles Edison Chen and a female who resembles Gillian Chung engaging in cunnilingus.  The attached message was "You people want to see more of me and Gillian in action?  ENJOY."  These four photographs plus the first one seemed to have been captured from a video film.  At around 6pm, there appeared a photograph of a female who resembles Cecilia Cheung standing nude in a bathroom.
The pre-release rumors and the phased rollout of these photographs meant that eager netizens were waiting all night and all day at the various bulletin board systems in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.  That led to significant slowdowns at some systems, and even total breakdowns for hours (Hong Kong Golden Forum was unreachable in the late afternoon).  In mainland China, a netizen posted this story at the Tianya forum and drew the highest comment rate in history over there.  By the time the post was "harmonized" at 7:48am January 30, it had drawn more than 2,500,000 page views and more than 13,000 comments covering 72 pages.  Meanwhile, the lights kept burning in Hong Kong last night as many people stayed up to wait for the announced soon-to-be-released video clip.
This story continued to be featured on the front pages of the Hong Kong newspapers (plus Taiwan's Sharp).  When the story first broke open yesterday, it was on the front pages of Oriental Daily, The Sun, Apple Daily, AM 730, Headline Daily, Ming Pao and Sing Pao.  Of these, Oriental Daily, The Sun and Ming Pao showed cropped versions of the photographs.  AM 730, Headline News, Apple Daily, Metro Daily and Sing Pao provided written descriptions of the photographs without showing them.  On January 30, Oriental Daily, The Sun, Apple Daily, Sing Pao and Headline News continued to feature this story on their front pages.





Sing Tao and Headline News are adamant that these photographs were computer modifications, but the other newspapers are no longer insisting on that position.  The newspapers are talking less about apprehending the mastermind criminal and emphasizing on the crime of distributing these photographs under Hong Kong law about obscene/indecent articles.  Notwithstanding the intense scrutiny, there has been no convincing conclusive evidence that these photographs have been modified.  In the fraud detection process, more instances out there means greater opportunity to detect the flaws.  But the new photographs only make it clear how good the job was.  If these photographs had been modified, then the person behind this has amazing skills.
The keyword right now is 'original material.'  In the usual computer modification jobs, the head of someone is taken from one photograph and attached to the body of another person in another photograph.  So a great deal of scrutiny is made on the unnatural lines, awkward body positions, etc.  So far, nobody has spotted any technical manipulations.  But where are the original photographs of these celebrities?  They must exist somewhere out there and the whole affair would be over in an instant if just one of those original photographs can be found.
Here are two candidates of the 'head transplants' where certain minor adjustments would have to be made.


Day #3  (01/31/2008)
Part 1: It is 1am in the morning.  The so-called photos #13 and #14 have surfaced.  These show a naked woman who resembles Cecilia Cheung spreading her legs.  These are high-resolution photographs, and therefore susceptible to technical analysis for computer modification.  Previously, the photographs of Gillian Chung were suspect because of the noisy background -- people wondered if the noise had been deliberately added after the first computer modification was made.  The details of these new photos should leave nothing to doubt (especially for her husband Nicholas Tse, who must be familiar with the private parts of his wife).  Photos #15 and #16 appeared to be higher resolution photos of the initial Gillian Chung series.  What else is going to show up tonight?  The netizens of the world are staying up and waiting  ...  You ask: Where are those photographs?  Hint: Go to the overseas BBS's -- the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese BBS's have all been "harmonized."
Part 2:  Here are today's newspaper front pages:




From the 1-555-CONFIDE blog, here are some statistics on the front page headline stories in the newspapers on January 29 and 30. 

Column B=Number of times "transplant" was used on January 29
Column C=Number of times "composite" was used on January 29
Column D=B+C
Column E=Number of times "transplant" was used on January 30
Column F=Number of times "composite" was used on January 30
Column G=E+F
Column H=D-H
Row 2=Ming Pao
Row 3=AM730
Row 4=The Sun
Row 5=Oriental Daily
Row 6=Sing Pao
Row 7=Apple Daily
Row 8=Headline Daily
The shift is probably due to the appearance of more and more photographs that makes the "transplant"/"composite" hypothesis from the Emperor Entertainment Group spokespeople less and less tenable.
Apple Daily said that more than 100 detectives from the Hong Kong police's commercial crime division are involved in the investigation of Hong Kong netizens who have been involved in disseminating those photographs.  At this point, more than 30 IP addresses have been locked onto and the respective Internet Service Providers have been asked to provide the user information.
Here is a list of criminal liabilities (via Ronny Tong):
Action: Viewing the photographs
Legality: Legal
Punishment: None
Action: Storing the photographs
Legality: Legal
Punishment: None
Action: Posting the photographs online
Legality: Illegal
Punishment: See the ordinance on the control of obscene and indecent articles
Action: Forwarding the photographs by email or mobile telephone
Legality: Possibly illegal
Punishment: See the ordinance on the control of obscene and indecent articles

Day #4 (01/31/2008) 

This story is still holding the front pages of the major Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong.





The story today has shifted its emphasis to law enforcement.
(SCMP; no link)

Hong Kong police on Thursday said they had arrested the unemployed 29-year-old in connection with nude pictures purportedly taken of celebrities. These had been posted online earlier this week a day after an investigation was launched on Wednesday.  Police Commissioner Tang King-shing said during a briefing with legislators on Thursday that an arrest had been made.  The suspect was detained at his New Territories home. Investigators were trying to determine his role in the case.

Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam Tat-wing said there was a substantial amount of evidence connected with the unemployed man.  The service provider handed us the IP address of the individual whose computer contained some of the photographs, he said.  Mr Yam also cautioned the public that circulating the photographs was a criminal offence.

Publishing obscene articles on the internet is an offence under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. This also includes the act of reposting the obscene articles or internet hyper-linking to obscene articles, whether for profit or otherwise. Anyone convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for three years.

(Those Were The Days blog)

So the police "made an arrest."  Does this mean that the affair is over?  Will the female stars no longer have to live in fear?  Sorry, no.  Deputy-Commissioner for Operations Peter Yam said yesterday that "the individual may not be the first person who posted the photographs."  There are certain difficulties in trying to find the source, but he emphasized that the police have the ability to find those who are circulating those photographs ... the police may be able to arrest a hundred or a thousand people who are forwarding the photographs, but that does not solve the case.  The culprit is still out there and may continue to post more photographs.  The war against the circulators only creates a White Terror in Hong Kong, where netizens are afraid of posting.  Meanwhile, these photographs continue to be freely available for downloading at any number of overseas websites.  So what good is arresting one or two circulators?  Can the Hong Kong police make Google forbid the searching for those photographs?  Or prevent people from using Foxy to forward the photographs?
The police only know to take some minor action and create the impression that "an arrest" seems to imply that the case has been solved.  But these are completely different things.  They have only managed to intimidate the ordinary citizens from circulating or distributing those photographs.  Even they have admitted that until the person responsible for releasing the photographs is found, then those articles won't even be forwarded to the Obscene Articles Tribunal. ...

Mandatory reading A tale of two storms: mainland emergency reporting and the Hong Kong media freeze  David Bandurski and Joseph Cheng, China Media Project

Day #5 (01/31/2008) 

Once again, this story wins out on the front pages of the major Hong Kong newspapers. 


In Apple Daily, the feature story was the suspect arrested for posting one obscene photograph has been remanded to custody for eight weeks until the next hearing.  The suspect is an unemployed single 29-year-old man still living with his parents.  He does not have any criminal record, and his mother was willing to post a HKD 10,000 bond.  But the magistrate took a look at the photograph, winced, said that such a photograph caused great harm when circulated on the Internet, considered this to be a serious charge and therefore rejected the request for bail.  The next hearing will be on March 28.  Apple Daily included a photograph of the said magistrate:

The other newspapers published Edison Chen's boast about "if you want to put blame, you should blame this game and not the player."  On his blog, Edison Chen wrote: "edc is edison chen ........... hate the game and dun hate the player .......... i am all bout unity ............ but if u fucks wid me i gotsa fuck wid u ........... in clot edc's role is the FRONTLINESOLDIER.... ACT LIKE U KNOW......."  But those words had been there since mid-2007.  This is not news.

Day #6 (02/02/2008) 

The theme today is the numbers.  Here are there front page news stories.  In Apple Daily, the headline is "1,000 obscene photographs of artistes."  In Oriental Daily, the headline is "Lusty photographs of artistes: As many as several hundred."  In The Sun, "Artiste's computer had several hundred bedroom scene photographs."



Here are there front page news stories.  In Apple Daily, the headline is "1,000 obscene photographs of artistes."  This seems straighforward enough.  In Oriental Daily, the headline is "Lusty photographs of artistes: As many as several hundred."  The number is less than 1,000 but still 'several hundred.'  In The Sun, "Artiste's computer had several hundred bedroom scene photographs."  But this does not say what kind of people appear in those bedroom scenes.  This is wishywashy enough to arouse suspicion.

Six more people have been arrested and computers and hard disks containing hundreds of pictures seized, as police widen their investigation into the online distribution of nude photos of local celebrities.  Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Wong Fook-chuen said last night that four men and two women, aged 23 to 30, had been arrested in the past two days for possessing nude photos for distribution purposes.  Hundreds of pictures, including some never circulated on the internet but related to the photos previously uploaded, were found in computers and hard disks seized from the man in Central.  "Even if these [people] are not the principal sources, we believe they are very close to them," Mr Wong said.
Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing repeated a warning against possessing such photos during a radio interview. "Even possessing the picture might be illegal, but of course, we will look at the numbers," he said.  Acknowledging that many people were worried that they might have committed a crime, Mr Tang said: "The amount might determine the intention. It is illegal to have many of these pictures, as they might be used for publishing or selling.  "What is the meaning of many? One hundred pictures? Two hundred pictures? I don't think it is a matter of numbers, but we also have to look at whether the number is reasonable. Also we have to consider other factors as evidence."
Mr Tang said the police had contacted their counterparts on the mainland and overseas when he was asked if Hong Kong could investigate websites based across the border. He denied police were paying disproportionate attention to the case.  "We're not doing this because the case is related to celebrities. We also look at how serious it is and the concerns of the public. In the past, we have arrested people on similar charges."

So SCMP reports: "Hundreds of pictures, including some never circulated on the internet but related to the photos previously uploaded, were found ..."  Are we being conned here?  This collection could be the thirteen photographs that have already appeared, plus the known computer-modified photographs of Gillian Chung, Cecilia Chung (see the photograph of her in the bathtub on the front page of Oriental Daily is an old one), Joey Yung, etc, plus many more other obscene photographs.  These are the 'other factors' that Commissioner Tang talks about, but will not provide in this most recent case.
Will Commissioner Tang's remarks led to panic hard disk purges all over Hong Kong?  All previous assumptions that possession is not illegal have gone out of the window.  Tang has just stated that possession = distribution, depending on his own opinion.  The resulting maximum penalty is HKD 1,000,000 in fines and 3 years in prison.  Which among Hong Kong citizens should already be identified as a prime suspect?  Edison Chen!  He took hundreds of these photographs, he stored them on his pink Apple Powerbook and it is now know that some of those photographs were distributed on the Internet.  Isn't he the most obvious suspect for the crime of possession/potential distribution?  Why haven't the police arrested and detained him with no bail?  Did he leave for Canada because he was anticipating the problem?  Have the Hong Kong police asked Interpol and/or Royal Canadian Mounted Police to interrogate Edison Chen?
Who else has a lot of obscene photographs with the likelihood of distribution?  Hong Kong blogger Life is but an empty dream ... wrote about the night before the story broke that the workers at Apple Daily congregated around the computer monitor to look at those photographs.  So the photographs are definitely present at Apple Daily.  Today, Apple Daily also published the name of an America-based Chinese-language overseas student website on which the photographs continue to be available for viewing and commenting.  You copy the name of that webpage from the Apple Daily, search for it on Google, read a few pages and you will arrive at those photographs conveniently compressed for downloading.  But you don't expect the police to search Apple Daily, do you?  I mean, it might damage the Olympics ...

In Sing Tao, the headline makes it clear where the photographs came from: "Secrets believed to be leaked when Edison Chen got his computer repaired in Central District."  Apparently, the computer repair person scanned the hard disk, found the photographs, made a copy for himself and shared with friends.  This person may be guilty of theft.  But if the copies were shared and distributed among friends, then which one of them is the person who posted the photographs on the Internet?
Sing Tao has shifted its position.  When the story first broke, it (and its free sister newspaper Headline Daily) were adamant that the photographs were computer modifications.  Headline News wrote (via Dukedom of Aberdeen blog): "Any clear-eyed person can see that these are computer transplants."  So who was the blind one now?  As of today, nobody is saying that anymore because of the immense difficulty of engineering hundreds of computer modifications flawlessly.  By the way, if the EEG company lodged complaints with the police on January 27 and 28, did they say "computer modifications"?  If so, they were guilty of filing a false report even as Edison Chen left for Canada in order not to be questioned by the Hong Kong police and be caught in a perjury.  If they were misled by the principals, then at what point did they realize that and why won't they come out to correct the record?  Or are they still dead-enders all the way?

(  The following transcript by a dedicated fan of Gillian Chung has been widely circulated in the Internet forums.  The person who made those comments go by the obvious nickname of "Senior cadre's little girl."

Let me tell you one last time -- get lost!  Or else I'm going to send your IP addresses to my dad so that he can notify the provincial public security bureau to issue a national warrant for your arrests.  This may even go to the Interpol.  You better be careful!  Think about your parents.  They must work hard to send you to study overseas.  I don't want my dad to arrest you.  So all of you just get lost!!!

Damn, what do your fathers do?  Stop telling me to be careful about what I say, or I will have your parents arrested as well.

So you can have your say now.  I'll tell my dad later.  You people are overseas, but your parents may be arrested in China.

Comment #47: your dad is the person who is really a dog.  My dad is working overtime today.  When he gets back, you'll be sorry.  All you overseas student trash!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overseas student trash, do you think that I am kidding?  You don't believe me?  Let me tell you.  I've recorded all your IP addresses.  None of you will get away!!!!  You may be having fun abusing Gillian right now.  But when you come back to China, my father will make you cry at the airport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You are just a bunch of trash.

You overseas student trash should not be too happy!!!!  My father and the county party secretary are meeting with the provincial leader tonight.  When he gets home, you'll be sorry.  Some of you pretend that your parents are senior officials, but you better wake up and reflect!!!  I am the child of a senior official, so how could I not know what the children of senior officials are like?  So stop acting.

Yawn.  I've just called my dad on the mobile telephone.  He said that he'll deal with you people when he returns home.  If you are brave enough, don't run away!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, your parents must work hard to sent you overseas.  If you don't smear Gillian anymore, I will beg my father not to arrest you and your parents,, okay?  Why don't we settle this amicably?

I'm saying this one last time.  I am very magnanimous.  If you promise not to smear Gillian anymore, I will do everything that I can to beg my dad not to make this a big deal or to arrest you and your parents.  I repeat this one more time: You parents work hard to sent you out to study, so please do not hurt them by saying ill-considered things.  Most of you are plain ignorant.  I believe that if Gillian were here, she would support my decision not to chase after you.  Big people don't mind the mistakes of small people.  This would be the best result for you.

Stop being stubborn.  I just called my dad on the mobile telephone and I told him all about this.  Frankly, I'm sorry that I told him ... when he goes into a rage, I may not be able to hold him back.  Are you pretending that you are not scared?  Actually, I know that you must be quaking in fear!!!!  Let me tell you about some insider story known only to the children of senior cadres like us (it is risky for me to say this here, but I don't mind for the sake of educating all you overseas student trash trying to smear Gillian and I just hope that it won't affect my dad's career).  At the bureau where my father works, they have a piece of equipment where if you input an IP address, it will immediately show all the information about you and your family.  You better stop what you are going, or else I will let my father use that machine to find out all about you and then ask the provincial public security bureau to issue arrest warrants for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I advise those who are using their friends' computers to log off immediately because you may be causing trouble for your friends and their families.  Nobody wants to have arrest warrants on them!  This is what you get for smearing Gillian!  In other words, I repeat once again that I am doing this for your own good!!!  My father is a senior official and he has a foul temper!!!  Please do not get him mad!!!!

Related link: Hong Kong: The Big Brother is Watching You!  Oiwan Lam,

Day #7 (02/04/2008) 

This is seven days in a row that this story took over the newspaper front pages.






Another man has been arrested on suspicion of posting on the internet nude photos purportedly of local celebrities, as publicity surrounding the case began raising questions among the public about whether they could be prosecuted for downloading the images.  Police said they arrested a 29-year-old man, the eighth suspect arrested in the investigation, at about 4am yesterday in Ma On Shan.  They also said three men and a woman arrested last week had been released on HK$20,000 bail each.  Another two men and a woman were still being detained by police last night.

You read the above and you only have more questions: Who are these people?  How are they related to each other?  How did they come into possession of the photographs of naked artistes engaged in naughty conduct?  How did they go about distributing those photographs (13? 21?).

(Sing Pao)

According to an informed source close to the person who was the source of the photographs, several months ago Edison Chen sent his pink Apple Powerbook laptop to a Central computer shop for repairs.  The technician made the accidental discovery that there were several hundred photographs and videos of Edison Chen and/pr more than a dozen celebrities/artistes (many of whom were listed by the media and netizens as prime suspects after the first photographs of Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan and Cecilia Cheung appeared), and he downloaded them onto his own computer.

The informed source said that the technician only intended to keep the material for his own enjoyment.  Then one day he invited some friends over to his Ma On Shan apartment to play mahjong and he casually mentioned that he had some "good" stuff to show them.  When his friends saw the material, they were astonished and lobbied him to post to the Internet.  He did not want to do so himself, because he knew that Edison Chen has his contact information.  So finally a female friend agreed to undertake the task of posting onto the Internet.  That was how it happened.

Point #1: On the front page of The Sun, there was a photograph of Cecilia Cheung wearing a police uniform.  The photograph is not indecent/obscene in itself, because no naughty body parts are shown.  But this is part of the collection.  Why release it now?  Because it is now certain that the photographs are not computer modifications which smear the reputation of Cecilia Cheung.  Instead, this is a true photograph without any modification, and the truth cannot be a smear.
Point #2: Meanwhile, someone has set up a website that contains all the 21 previously released photographs plus several hundred computer modifications of celebrities/artistes.  The quality of the latter is pretty poor and can be immediately recognized as computer modifications.  Here is an example of Joey Yung:

Her head is in an awkward position with respect to her neck, her teeth-flashing smile is totally inappropriate to her situation and the lighting is wrong.  By comparison, a photograph such as Bobo Chan performing fellatio on Edison Chen was immensely difficult to modify on computer because there is unlikely to be an original photograph of her looking downwards with her tongue sticking out. 
Does my posting of this photograph cause harm to Joey Yung's reputation?  Well, this website is registered and hosted in the United States, so the Hong Kong police will have to seek the help of the FBI/Interpol on this.  Besides, why chase after me?  After all, I got this photograph from another website which has a much bigger circulation than mine and therefore has wrought much more havoc.  Would the Hong Kong police dare to do anything about that website (click here)?  No, I didn't so ...
Point #3: (The Sun)  Probably every newspaper in Hong Kong covered the news from Jilin province (China).  Last Friday, thirteen Jilin provincial departments including the Public Security Bureau and the provincial Supreme Court held a joint audio-visual conference about running a full campaign to purge the Internet video websites, blogs and mobile telephone services of any obscene, pornographic, vulgar and/or harmful sections, subjects and videos.  Furthermore, all forum webmasters, administrators and chatroom moderators will be registered by their real names and all forum comments must be reviewed before publication.  The Jilin public security bureau also reminded all netizens that "it is illegal to touch, view, duplicate, post, download and/or disseminate the currently popular obscene/pornographic photographs of Hong Kong artistes."

Day #8 (02/05/2008)







Singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei made a public apology yesterday to anyone affected by the distribution on the internet of nude pictures purported to show him and female celebrities and called on anyone who had copies to destroy them.

His video statement was released to the media last night as observers were predicting that complaints about indecent photographs on the internet would rise further because of what is being dubbed the "Edison Chen incident".

"I hereby use this opportunity to apologise to anyone who has been affected by this strange, strange ordeal. The lives of many innocent people have been affected by this malicious and criminal conduct. And in this regard, I'm filled with pain, hurt and frustration. I now call upon anyone to help and assist the victims of this case. If you've ever downloaded any of these images, please do not forward them to anyone. Please do not send them to anyone. If you are still in possession of these images, I urge you to please destroy them immediately. Let's help the wounded heal their wounds. I urge you to help the victims and not make it any worse."

edc: My Statement

陳冠希現身向受害人道歉 TVB; 陳冠希 女藝人裸照事件道歉


Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Vincent Wong Fook-chuen said six women appeared in the photographs, most of which were obscene. He would not say if more than one man appeared. "We are quite confident to say that the source [of the photos] is confirmed. Someone had sent his computer for repair and the pictures [stored inside] were stolen without the consent of the owner."

Mr Wong said the probe would focus only on whether the photos were obscene articles, not on their authenticity. Four of the six women involved were publicly recognisable. Police would contact everyone who appeared in the photos but they would not necessarily have to testify in court.

"What we need to do is to prove that someone stole the data or that someone distributed obscene articles. I do not see the need for them to come to court," Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong rejected suggestions of selective police enforcement in the case, saying there was evidence that all except the suspected source had distributed the photos. He also denied that the force had allocated extra manpower to investigate this case due to the involvement of celebrities.

"This impression has been created because of the extensive media coverage and society as a whole is very concerned," Mr Wong said, adding that only 19 officers from the technology crime division had participated in the probe.

While keeping such photographs and sending them to friends was not an offence, Mr Wong said, it was illegal for anyone to upload such photos onto the Web, as cyberspace was the public domain.

Wong has overturned the comment by his boss Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing (aka Big Brother Number One) on radio last week: Even possessing the pictures might be illegal, but of course, we will look at the numbers The quantity might reveal the intention. It is illegal to have a lot of these pictures, as they might be used for publishing or selling. What is a lot? One hundred pictures? Two hundred pictures? I don't think it is a matter of numbers, but we also have to look at whether the number is reasonable.

Tangs words led to calls for his resignation because he is evidently ignorant about the existing law and therefore unqualified to lead the Hong Kong police as such. Tang did not come out to repudiate his own statements, but his underling Wong was sent out to put out the fire instead.

And now for a famous saying of the day:

(The Standard

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vincent Wong Fook-chuen urged anyone whose nude pictures had been posted on the internet to report to the police. "In my 20-plus years as a policeman, I have not come across such an issue," Wong said in response to questions as to why police had not acted against other obscene photos circulating on the internet.

Twenty years ago, the Internet as such did not exist and there was nothing to see. Today, the Internet is everywhere and it is hard to imagine that the Hong Kong police is unaware of nude photos on the Internet. A new website specifically directed against the Hong Kong police has more than 500 photographs of nude artistes. Granted that most of those photographs are computer modifications, but that is irrelevant because the Hong Kong police has stated that they are not interested in the authenticity of the photographs they will handle any case of an obscene/indecent photograph, authentic or modified. 

Day #9 (02/06/2008)

Less than 24 hours after the Hong Kong police announced that they have tracked down the source that leaked the Edison Chen photographs to the public, another six more photographs were published on the Internet. 


At least six new nude photos purported to be of celebrities - including a new face - spread like viruses across the city last night, a day after police said they had traced the source of the spate of scandalous pictures that have appeared on the internet in recent days.  The pictures, sent through e-mails and internet messaging systems, were seen as a challenge to police, who said on Monday putting obscene photos on the internet, a public domain, was an offence but sending them to friends was not.

The new photos included three graphic images purportedly of Gillian Chung Yan-tung of girl duo Twins, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and former actress Bobo Chan Man-woon - all of whom have been rumoured to be romantically linked to singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei. Another photograph was of a woman who could not be identified. All the pictures included a man whose face was not revealed.  Also included were two solo shots of a partially-dressed woman who looked like former singer Chiu Chung-yue, whose photographs had not been circulated previously.

Apple Daily and Oriental Daily characterized this action as the shaving of the eyebrow of the police, while The Sun said that it was a slap in the face.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincent Wong had remarked publicly yesterday that it is not against the law to share these photographs with friends but it is illegal to publish the photographs on the Internet such that strangers can view them. This leaves open the question of the meaning of friendship in the Internet era. In the real world, a friend is someone whom you have met, spoken with and/or corresponded with. In the virtual world of the Internet, an Internet friend may be someone whom you have never met and you have never spoken with; you may not know the name of the person (except as a nickname such as the cat which doesnt cry or the senior cadres little daughter or cgx200801); and so on. So does such an Internet friend satisfy Vincent Wongs requirement?

One proposed model for future distribution of the photographs is for people to signal an offer and then require an email address to send to. If photographs are sent to an email address, then this can be taken to be a friendly gesture to another person who has just reciprocated on an offer of friendship. In other words, this is a friend.

Day #10 (02/07/2008)

The newspapers run on a 24-hour cycle, so they could be running far behind a breaking news story. In this case, the breaking news story was the emergence of hundreds of photographs from the Edison Chen collection. Previously, over the course of the past nine days, around twenty photographs of Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan and Cecilia Cheung were posted onto the Internet and then circulated broadly around the world.

Then the police announced that they had nailed the source of the photographs (namely, the worker at the computer shop where Edison Chen took his pink Apple Powerbook for repair) as well as his six friends who actually uploaded those photographs onto the Internet. For a couple of days, no more photographs appeared. Then yesterday another six appeared. So someone else out there still has some unpublished photographs. But how many more are forthcoming? When someone made a promise at a Hong Kong discussion forum that hundreds of photographs will be posted on Lunar Chinese New Years Eve, a lot of people assumed that this was just another wannabes empty boast.

Alternately, another set of faithful believers began to draw an analogy with the Japanese manga/anime/movie <Death Notebook>. In that classical story, a vigilante nicknamed Kira was killing off criminals by writing their names into the magical death notebook. Eventually the police arrested him and held him under maximum security detention. Everybody assumed that the killing would stop. But suddenly, another Kira surfaced and continued the murder spree using a second death notebook.  So if the original Kira of this case has now been apprehended by the Hong Kong police, will the second Kira emerge to continue the cause?

Then beginning midnight, compressed archived files containing photographs were suddenly being routed around in email as well as peer-to-peer sharing services such as Foxy. These alternate methods were used because the Hong Kong discussion forums will no longer post information about those photographs due to legal concerns. After a while, unknown persons posted the photographs at overseas pornographic websites and published the links at overseas Chinese-language forums. These overseas websites are beyond the reach of the Hong Kong police.  During the process, the keyword 251 became part of folklore as the shorthand term for the number of photographs in the current collection (as in, "Do you have 251?" "Desperately seeking 251").

What was in this latest batch? More photographs of Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan and Cecilia Cheung. The quantity and quality of the photographs were incredibly damaging.  It is hard to imagine what how Gillian Chung could face the public again, or Bobo Chans planned marriage next year would take place, or Nicholas Tse would remain married to Cecilia Cheung. There are also photographs of three more entertainers (Candice Chan, Rachel Ngan, Mandy Chan) who were hardly known to the general public before this but are now household names. Their names are probably now among the top ten most popular search engine terms. In the evening, the rumor was that there is now a 600+ collection of photographs plus a 13-minute video out there.  That turned out not to be true.

For the tenth day in a row, the Edison Chen photographs were featured on the front page of the major Hong Kong newspapers:


Day #11 (02/08/2008) 

No more photographs were released today, so this was the day when the front page story could be about something else for a change after ten days in a row.  Alas, nothing else carried enough interest/value to displace it.  Here are the major Hong Kong newspaper front pages.

More femaile stars in pornographic photos

Lusty photos spread across globe
Hong Kong police helpless

Bedroom photos seen around the globe
Police helpless
(Apple Daily via DWnews)  

When the new batch of photographs appeared yesterday, there were three folders containing photographs of females identified only as Unknown 1, Unknown 2 and Unknown 3.  These were initially identified as Candice Chen, Cathy Leung and Rachel Ngan.  These three minor starlets suddenly became objects of interest.  When Cathy Leung was contacted, she said that she had never met Edison Chen in her life and there was no reason to disbelieve a definitive statement like that.  Further investigation pointed that the person was really Mandy Chan, a former Miss Chinese contestant.  Reporters have so far tracked down Mandy Chan as having married, immigrated to Brisbane (Australia) and is running a beauty salon.  Where did the information come from?  Facebook.

(The Sun)  

According to the Hong Kong police, the photographs have spread across computer servers all over the world, thus making this a "globalized" affair.  About 70% to 80% of the servers are in the United States, with the rest in places such as Germany, Australia and so on.  There does not appear to be anything that the Hong Kong police can do.  Meanwhile, netizens are boasting that they will continue to distribute more bedroom photographs and hyperilnks to "friends."

Why can't the Hong Kong police get to these overseas servers?  Because the activity of posting pornography at these specialized websites is not against local laws.  In fact, these websites exist precisely in order to distribute pornography.  As such, the Hong Kong police cannot request the FBI or other local law enforcement agencies to take action solely on the basis of distribution of pornographic materials in Hong Kong.  Instead, they would need other causes (such as the photographs being purloined).  But they do not have any other probable cause at this time.  This is not exactly a new insight, because freedom of speech/expression is guaranteed in the United States and covers politics as well as pornography.  If there is such a thing as a ring of overseas websites for Chinese political dissidence, why shouldn't there be a ring of overseas websites for Chinese pornography?

But the story is not so straightforward, because of "one country, two systems."  In Hong Kong, political dissidence is very much protected as anyone can tell by the booths around the major tourist spots (such as Star Ferry, the Wong Tai Sin Temple, etc).  However, pornography will be hunted down by the Hong Kong police, Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority and the Obscene Articles Tribunal.  In mainland China, political dissidence is very much out of bounds.  However, the Edison Chen photographs are posted in full at major Chinese website portals (note: I won't provide a link here but I must say that I was truly astonished when I reached one such photo album at NetEase.  And it was not a netizen posting it without the knowledge of the forum master, because it was a catalogued sub-directory created solely for these photographs.).  In summary: in Hong Kong, YES for political dissidence but NO for pornography; in mainland China, NO for political dissidence and YES for pornography.
So how is this "one country, two systems" thing going to work?  What will happen in 2047 when the two systems are supposed to have converged?

(  This linked wiki page contains the most extensive coverage of the Edison Chen photograph collection.  Here is the translation of the section about the HK Golden Forum:

While the other large discussion forums such as Uwants and were deleting all related posts, HK Golden Forum continued to have a laissez-faire policy that deleted only direct postings using the [img] to show the photographs.  Everything else goes (including hyperlinks).  As a result, large numbers of curious netizens rushed over to HK Golden Forum to find the latest news and photographs.

On January 2008, "HK Golden" became the third most popular search term at Yahoo! Hong Kong, just after the principal characters Edison Chen and Gillian Chung.  Thus, HK Golden was the most popular forum, ahead of Uwants and, which had been more restricted.

HK Golden is organized into Forum1 and Forum2 for administrative reasons.  During this period, there was a time when Forum 1 and Forum 2 had more than 100,000 and 150,000 users at the same time.  This caused massive jams, delays and crashes.

In order to alleviate the server loads, the HK Golden resident netizens began to use creative approaches to reduce traffic.  For example, there was a rash of June 4th 1989-related posts around the time, because the posters thought that this could cause HK Golden Forum to be blocked by the Great Firewall of China.  On January 30, some of them also wrote that no photographs were going to appear that day; or even if it happened, it would not, HK Golden would not the first to do so; and besides, elementary/middle school children and mainland netizens should not be there anyway.

On the afternoon of January 31, 2008, certain HK Golden members predicted the website will shut down due to traffic overload.  On that evening, the 'lights went out' at Forum 1.  Forums 2 and 3 struggle on with occasional freezes.

As an important technology/current affairs discussion forum, HK Golden forum began on February 2, 2008 to organize a resistance movement along with the other major forums.  The activities include raising money for advertisements and demonstration marches.  The main purpose is to protest the double standards in police actions, oppose the injustice of the judiciary and express dissatisfaction with the entertainment artistes.
This affair is like the Article 23 episode.  The incident itself was just a trigger that released the repressed discontent of the netizens.

At the smaller HK Galden Forum, visitors are now required to register.  But the registration form includes the following option at the bottom: "I am willing to receive any electronic publication from the DJY Peope's Electronic Newspaper."  This is just a device to scare away mainlanders who don't know what the forum is really about.

Related Link: Hong Kong: From Sex to Police Scandal  Oiwan Lam, Global Voices Online

Day #12 (02/09/2008) 

If you read only the newspapers, you would think that this story is arriving at a feeble end.  While this is still the top story in the major Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong for lack of a better story, the foci have diverged.  The lead story in Apple Daily was that Edison Chen had taken his laptop computer to more than one computer shop for repairs.  Workers at the second computer shop also discovered the folder of photographs and gathered around to gawk at the female celebrities.  It is likely that another copy of the photographs was made by someone at this second computer shop.

Oriental Daily/The Sun had three short news stories.  Story #1 was about the appearance of three more photographs: two old Gillian Chung photographs and another of her holding up a condom.  However, it is believed that these photographs do not belong to the "Kira" series (and that last one is probably from a Japanese adult video movie featuring an actress with some resemblance to Gillian Chung).  These stories were deleted from the Hong Kong discussion forums in a few hours' time.  Story #2 was about the collaboration between Hong Kong and mainland police to hunt down the sources and distributors of these photographs on mainland China.  As soon as any such photograph appears, the mainland Chinese Internet police would be notified and they immediately ordered the website to take the photographs down.  Story #3 was about how the Twins (Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi)'s Lunar New Year ad for Hong Kong Disneyworld has just been replaced.

Does that mean that this story will go off the newspaper front pages?  NOT A CHANCE.  This morning after the newspapers were printed, the Internet is abuzz with the appearance of 125 new photographs of Cecilia Cheung (the white panties set, the bathroom set, the police uniform set and the bed set) and 42 new photographs of Gillian Chung (the black fish net lingerie set and the white bikini underwear set).  For bonus, "Kira" threw in three nude shower photographs of Vincy Yeung, who is Edison Chen's current girlfriend and the niece of Emperor Entertainment Group founder/chief Albert Yeung.  That will become tomorrow's front page story.  The shower matches the one in Edison Chen's YouTube clip.  There are now around 400 photographs out there already.  The Hong Kong police says that there are 1,300 photographs in total.
Here is an interesting aside about a double bridge blog.  The Edison Chen story is of great interest to some netizens in mainland China, so that many of them were rushing down to the HK Golden forum to find out about the lastest.  However, they were not familiar with and, in any case, could not access Hong Kong mainstream newspaper websites.  I had been creating a daily digest here while all this was happening.  So those posts were carried over to the Tianya Forum and then roughly translated over there for those who could not read English well enough.  This resulted in 470,000+ hits over here referred from that page.  Amazing, isn't it?

Ever since the Edison Chen photographs appeared, a bellwether was a Tianya forum post in the Entertainment Gossip section.  After about ten days, that page had accumulated more than 10 million pageviews and tens of thousands of comments covering more than 600 pages.  That forum post did not contain any of the photographs, but people were posting the hyperlinks.  Then suddenly the page was gone ("PAGE DOES NOT EXIST" message took its place).  Irate Tianya forum users vowed avenge against the forum master by launching a massive garbage-posting campaign to overwhelm the Entertainment Gossip section.  Here is the response from the forum master:

[in translation]

(February 8, 2008, 20:13:00)

I just received the news that the post had been deleted.  I was totally unaware of it.  The forum master did not receive any notice.  Afterwards, we checked the operational log and the field for the operator was blank.  We could not even find out who deleted the page!

This was a 'tall building'' with more than 600 'floors', and it was deleted without even a hello!  This forum master refuses to accept the blame!

I have raised hell within the organization.  I have decided to go against the operational rules and restore this post.  I may lose my job as forum master, but I will seek justice for the Entertainment Gossip section.

Going against the rules will get me fired.  But as long as I hold this job, I will protect that post.  If Tianya should fire me, I will just have to say sorry to everybody.

Meanwhile, at 1:56:00 February 9, 2008, Tianya user heyaohui wrote about the HK Golden Forum:

[in translation]

I read some of their posts and I was displeased.  I also learned that their forum master turned over user information to the Hong Kong police who effected some arrests.  This is too fucking harmonious and immoral.  I can't stand it.

My sense of justice and responsibility rose and I would like to call for a group of sex-obsessed warriors of the motherland to "liberate" them and bring the light of dawn for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong!

Based upon my preliminary estimate, there are usually only several hundred people online at the HK Golden Forum.  If we can get 1,000 people to assault them, we can break them down!

So I want us to go to the HK Golden Forum at midnight tonight.  It is going to be fun.  Anyone who wants to do that should leave their name here ...

ORZ, is this idea too crazy?

It is uncertain just what happened after midnight.  It would appear that HK Golden Forum1 had gone down at one point, but Forum2 and Forum3 were holding up.  In any case, the point was moot because all attention was turned to the 170 new photographs of Cecilia Cheung, Gillian Chung and Vincy Yeung.

The Vincy Yeung angle is covered in this third story, which is partially fictional but contains certain known facts.

In Hong Kong, there are two artiste agencies -- Emperor Entertainment (headed by Albert Yeung) and China Star Entertainment (headed by Charles and Jimmy Heung).  Both companies have triad backgrounds.

In the Edison Chen photographs affair, everyone can see that it was aimed at Emperor Entertainment and Albert Yeung.
Who is Edison Chen?
A. A popular singer+movie star idol
B. The proprietor of a small clothing shop
C. The bedfellow of Gillian Chung, Cecilia Chung, Bobo Chan, etc.
D. The son of a wealthy businessman
E. The boyfriend of Vincy Yeung, the niece of Albert Yeung
F. All of the above.
You don't need me to tell you the answer.  Of all the identities, D. and E. are most likely to be related to this affair.  "Kira" began with the release of photographs of Emperor Entertainment's Gillian Chung and China Star Entertainment traitor Cecilia Cheung.  It is for certain that many people would think that China Star Entertainment is a likely suspect here.

... When the Edison Chen photographs came out, the Emperor Entertainment Group and the Hong Kong police were in disarray and the entire Hong Kong underworld was shaken up.  A newspaper reported that the reward for capturing "Kira" was as much as HKD 3 million ...

Given that many people believe that Albert Yeung is involved in triad activities, it is no wonder that as soon as the nude Vincy Yeung photographs appeared, they would be asking: Is Albert Yeung going to 'fix' "Kira", Edison Chen and/or the Heungs?

This is a recount of some of the reporting/commentary at Sing Tao/Headline Daily.
(Dukedom of Aberdeen)  Headilne Daily:


On the day before yesterday, two pornographic photographs appeared at the Internet discussion forums.  At first sight, the two female resembled Gillian Chung and Bobo Chan and they were engaged in obscene activities with a man who appeared to resemble Edison Chen.  The person who resembled Gillian Chung was lying on a bed with her legs split apart and the man at the top left corner of the photograph resembled Edison Chen.  In the other photograph, the persons who resembled Bobo Chan and Edison Chen were engaged in a sexual act.  But clear-eyed people can determine immediately that these photographs are computer modifications.

As more photographs appeared, the theory of computer modification became untenable.  The photographs were real, but where did they come from?  The Sing Tao commentator Cha Siu Yan then wrote (via Yahoo! Hong Kong):


According to one version, Edison Chen handed his computer over for repairs and someone copied the top secret photographs and then posted them on the Internet.  This would leave a track and if this were true, the police would have arrested the person, searched the store and solved the case.

If Edison Chen had a computer problem at home, someone would have come over to his house to fix the machine.  As a CEO, Edison Chen could not be like a middle-school student bringing his computer down to Mongkok or Golden Shopping Centre for repairs.  This version has very low credibility.

The second version was that someone found a mobile telephone with those photographs.  As a popular star who is pursued by paparazzi all the time, he must be tempting fate by carrying a mobile telephone with these photographs of passion.

I believe that both of these two versions insult our intelligence.  One is better off going to a higher level and claiming that some young hacker broke into Edison Chen's computer or Facebook to steal the photographs.  That would be more credible.

It would turn out that the police would later raid a computer store, arrest a former employee and charge him with distribution of obscene articles.  Even more interestingly, Apple Daily (via Wenxue City) asserted that Edison Chen had taken his computer (nicknamed Cotton Candy Mac) to another computer store for repairs.  So much for the young CEO and his intelligence quotient.

About this development, Sing Tao reported (via Yahoo! Hong Kong)


According to information, Edison CHen had encypted the confidential folders in his computer.  If someone had employed high technology to break the encryption to extract the photographs during the process of computer repair, then all those involved have broken the law.

There is no hint as to where that 'information' about the encryption came from, since Edison Chen is away from Hong Kong right now and not taking interviews.  Sing Tao is the only Hong Kong newspaper that has this story.

How hard did Sing Tao/Headline Daily try to assist the artistes?  On February 4, 2008, the Sing Tao News Group paid for an advertisement themselves to support the "victimized female stars."

Little Oslo quotes a friend: "A clear-eyed person can determine with one glance that this is an announcement that is like getting rich off dead people."

That does not mean that Sing Tao/Headline Daily are unreadable for the story about Edison Chen's photographs.  On the contrary, they are compulsory daily reads because you never know what surprises they have in store for you.

Day 13 (02/10/2008)

221 newly added obscene photos
Seventh female character exposed
Edison Chen's girlfriend Vincy is involved

460 photographs in one day
Dam burst for lusty photographs

460 photos shown continuously
Obscenity is raised to higher level

Gillian Chung will show up tomorrow to explain to the public
Here is the count of the photographs according to The Sun

The columns are the dates of release.  The rows are the females: Cecilia Cheung, Gillian Chung, Bobo Chan, Candice Chen, Mandy Chen, Rachel Ngan, 'other' (note: Vincy Yeung).
(Apple Daily)

Between 3am in the morning to 11:45pm at night, a total of 221 new photographs appeared on the Internet.  Four female were involved.  Three of them had previously been involved: Cecilia Cheung, Gillian Chung and Bobo Chan.  The fourth and new person appears to be Vincy Yeung, the current girlfriend of Edison Chen and the niece of Emperor Entertainment Group chief Albert Yeung.

Vincy Yeung would be the seventh female in the Edison Chen photo collection.  Previously, Hong Kong Assistant Commission of Police Wong Fook-chun had said that there were only six females among the 1,300+ photographs.

(The Sun)

When the photos first began to appear, the mainland Chinese forum Tianya gained the reputation as one of the principal assembly points for information on new photographs.  Hundreds of thousands of netizens gathered at the special Tianya section, and it accumulated more than 20 million page views.  As a result of the high profile, the Tianya forum drew the attention of mainland authorities.  However, the proliferation of information was not just restricted to this one forum alone.
According to information, the Guangdong provincial public security bureau brought in more than one hundred Internet police officers during the Lunar New Year period to monitor and stop the circulation of the photographs.  But this was apparently futile, because one Internet police officer said:  We have to monitor thousands of websites.  Even if we don't sleep or rest, it is hard to stop the re-posting of the photographs."
On the Lunar New Year's Eve, more than 200 photos appeared.  This made all those mainland Chinese websites that carried them quite popular.  On the second day of the Lunar New Year, the special section at Tianya was deleted for a period of two hours, and this drew a huge response from netizens.  The section was restored.  Then early yesterday, several hundred more photographs were released and they were even more explicit.  This caused the special section at Tianya to be deleted for a second time.  Although it has now been 'revived,' some netizens are finding it hard to post comments.
According to a source with the Guangdong provincial public security bureau, they are monitoring the developments carefully because they are afraid that the actions of certain Hong Kong netizens (such as the demonstration march) may be "infectious" to the mainland netizens.

(Apple Daily)

The seventh person in this series of photographs is Vincy Yeung, the current girl friend of Edison Chen.  There are three photographs of her in the shower.  According to Edison Chen's own statement on a television program, his romance with Vincy Yeung began in 2004.  At the time, Vincy was still a high school student and may not yet be 16 years yet.  This means that anyone who posts the photos of Vincy Yeung runs the risk of breaking the child pornography laws and the consequences are much more severe than distribution of obscene/indecent materials.

(Apple Daily)

While the Hong Kong police are searching for the person responsible for distributing the obscene photographs of the artistes, the netizens have adapted by changing their method for distributing and obtaining those photographs.  The preferred method is via the peer-to-peer software FOXY.  A FOXY user simply designated certain files on the computer to be shared and then everybody can immediately download/upload.  This meant that a huge number of people will have the files.

Previously, the Hong Kong police were successfully in the prosecution of an individual for intellectual property rights violation via the BitTorrent software, which is another peer-to-peer method.  However, under BitTorrent, the initial person must place a 'seed' on the Internet so that other users can follow up to download/upload.  Thus, the police can find the source who produced the seed.  FOXY is different because a seed is not required.  This makes it hard to find the source.

(Ming Pao)

Gillian Chung will emerge to face the public tomorrow.  When the photos first appeared, the Emperor Entertainment Group had filed a police report.  EEG also told the press that the photos were computer modifications.  When more photos appeared, EEG said that they will make no further comment because the matter is presently in the hands of the police.

According to an experienced public relations consultant, Gillian Chung will have to face the public eventually unless she intends to retire completely from the entertainment field.  The case is 'hot' now, so the media will be 'hostile.'  Therefore, it is best that Gillian Chung makes "a public appearance without taking any questions from the media."  On one hand, she can control the situation.  On the other hand, this will communicate that she is back to work. As to when Gillian Chung will actually speak out on this affair, it will depend on the public reaction to this appearance.

This public relations consultant also advised that if the photos were not computer modifications, then Gillian Chung should adopt the role of "victim."  "This is a private matter between him and her.  Just like everyone else, she may have some intimate photos taken and she never thought that these photos would be shown in public.  Outsiders cannot judge her.  So this should not impact her image.

But if she continues to deny that the photos are real, there will be a blowback.  For example, Britney Spears "insisted that she was a virgin while the paparazzi kept showing her drunk with her many boyfriends.  As a result, her image took a dive."

Day 14 (02/11/2008)





About 300 internet users marched to police headquarters in Wan Chai yesterday to protest against the force's handling of the case of nude photos purported to be of local celebrities.  They urged the police to apologise and immediately release Chung Yik-tin, who was denied bail on January 31 and has since then been held at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.   He was the first person arrested in the case and was charged for distributing one photo and possessing 12 obscene photos.

The organisers also complained of police double standards in dealing with the case because it involved local celebrities.   "There are lots of obscene images on the internet but the police do nothing about them. As soon as there are images involving actors and actresses the police monitor the internet around the clock.

(The Sun)

Yesterday in Shuiwei (Futian district, Shenzhen city), our reporter observed people selling laser discs containing the obscene photographs of Hong Kong artistes.  Previously, people have only read about these photographs in the newspapers.  Yesterday, a video store was showing them on television.  A crowd of gawkers were drawn in.  According to the salesperson, each disk contains 258 photographs.  Priced at HKD 20 apiece, the reporter observed that a stack of 30 discs were quickly sold out in less than an hour.  The video store also offered to download the photos onto mobile telephones for HKD 10.

Under Chinese law, it is illegal to manufacture and sell such discs.  If found guilty, the offender faces between three to seven years in jail.  But it is not a crime to purchase such discs or share them among friends.

(The Sun)  (987 Hong Kong residents age 18 or older were interviewed by telephone)

Q1.  Concerning the Edison Chen photographs, the police took high-profiled action, with Commissioner Tang King-shing even doing a media interview.  Why?
19%: Tang King-shing wanted to claim credit and show that he can accomplish things
11%: The police usually ignore such cases, so they are trying to make up for it
48%: The police are working extra-hard because artistes are involved in this case
15%: There is nothing wrong with what the police are doing
  7%: No opinion
Q2. The police investigated and solved the case quickly.  However, they have been slow to handle similar complaints from other citizens as well as the case of the auxiliary police officer posting his own nude photos on the Internet.  What does this show?
31%: The police have no standards.  They are selectively enforcing the law.
21%: The police think that artistes are more important than ordinary citizens
32%: The police will work actively only when the public is paying attention
  9%: There is nothing wrong with what the police are doing
  7%: No opinion
Q3. In responding to the charge of selective law enforcement, senior police officials said that the police will make a thorough investigation each time that someone files a case report.  What do you think?
27%: That is just standard fluff used for the media
38%: The police will evaluate the standing of the complainant before deciding how to proceed with the investigation
15%: The police usually sets up a case, but they will not conduct a serious investigation
11%: The police treats everyone equally
  9%: No opinion
Q4. Commissioner Tang King-shing said that a citizen could be violating the law just by possession of obscene photographs.  Then the police changed their tune and said that possession is not illegal.  What do you think about the police statements?
18%: Tang King-shing did not have the right information
30%: The police were contradicting themselves and causing confusion
38%: The police don't know the laws themselves, and this means citizens can be trapped
  6%: There is nothing wrong with what the police were saying
  8%: No opinion
Q5. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority will only follow up on pornographic information on the Internet if they receive a complaint.  What does this show?
23%: The authorities don't care about Internet pornography and thus abet the spread of immoral materials
27%: The government has not intention of stopping pornography on the Internet
25%: The officials are lazy and want to do less work
11%: There is nothing wrong with what the government is doing
14%: No opinion
Q6. Pornography is overflowing on the Internet.  Which government official is most responsible?
14%: Chief Executive Donald Tsang
14%: Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing
32%: Commissioner of the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority Maisie Cheng
19%: No government official is responsible
21%: No opinion

(Those Were The Days blog)

Over the Lunar New Year holidays, hundreds of photographs were posted on the Internet, including the non-entertainment-industry girlfriend of the principal male character.  Previously, the Hong Kong police had asked netizens and Internet Service Providers to cooperate by not distributing, uploading or forwarding these photographs.  Over the past three days, it seems that no netizen dared to upload photographs or publish hyperlinks at the various large discussion forums.  However, they continued to use email and MSN to forward the photographs.  To a certain degree, the situation in Hong Kong can be said to be "under control."  The "disaster area" is not Hong Kong, but elsewhere on the Internet and especially the mainland discussion forums.  The mainland Chinese netizens have coined a term for this affair: 艷照門 ("Sexy photos gate").  They have also been posting the photos on overseas file sharing sites for others to download.  Some mainland Chinese netizens have uploaded those photos onto their own private photo albums which they put under password protection; then they let others publish the password so that they become "victims" themselves and therefore not culpable!

Even more insane are the people who trying to sell the photographs for sale on the Taobao website at an asking price of 4.80 RMB per photo!  At discussion forums in Japan, South Korea, USA and Canada, these photos are publicly posted at the discussion forums and blogs.

In an Internet, it is not possible to use traditional wisdom to solve the problems caused by 21st century technology.  A friend in the information technology field said that it will be impossible to ban these photos.  Even if the Internet has the same level of freedom on mainland China, this could not be stopped.  The "disaster area" right now is mainland China.  So unless freedom on the Internet in Hong Kong becomes even more restricted than on mainland China (namely, all information uploaded onto the Internet must be inspected by the government beforehand), such cases cannot be stopped.  Besides, that would only be relevant to Hong Kong websites.  But what about the overseas and mainland Chinese websites?  Will Hong Kong citizens be banned from visiting them?  The friend said: "That would be even worse than mainland China and down to the level of North Korea?  So how can Hong Kong be an international financial center when it does not even have freedom of information on the Internet!"

Apart from the issue of Internet freedom, it is also worth discussing the broad coverage of the private lives of artistes by the traditional as well as new media.  Certain moralists think that the broad coverage is an invasion of the privacy of these artistes.  Other people think that the artistes are public figures and are therefore not entitled to privacy in the sense of presenting one set of moral standards to the public while practicing another set in their private lives.

The Gillian Chung Press Conference  (02/11/2008) 

For the first time since the Edison Chen photographs appeared on the Internet, Gillian Chung made a public appearance before the press.  She made a statement but did not take any questions.

(Ming Pao)  Gillian Chung began by saying Happy New Year to those present.  She said that this incident has caused great distress and hurt to herself and those around her.  She admitted to being very nave and very stupid before, but she has now grown up.  She expressed her gratitude towards the company, her family and her friends for their concern and support.  She apologized for the effect of the affair on society at large.  In the future, she will continue to work hard and live actively.  Finally, she thanked the media for their concern and the fans who never abandoned her.
Did anyone coach her on the script?  How can she say that she had been "very nave, very stupid" (
很天真,很傻) before?  This phrase is likely to become the second Internet pop phrase of the year.  She can use any other words to express the same idea, but not with two "very's."  This is because the first Internet pop phrase of the year was  the now famous "Very Yellow, Very Violent".  How can anyone fail to draw that analogy?

The Internet forum response has been quite negative.  Throughout her statement, there was no description of what the affair was about.  The netizens did not take kindly towards her description of being "
very nave, very stupid."  People pointed to the KY jelly in the background of one of her photographs and asked: "If she had been 'very nave, very stupid' at the time when she was using KY jelly in a hotel room, then what is she doing now that she has grown up?"

Why is the Internet forum public so hostile towards Gillian Chung this time?  When photographs of her changing in the dressing room appeared in EasyFinder magazine in August 2006, the public was overwhelmingly on her side.  But the tide appeared to have swung the other way around.  One reason was that her company Emperor Entertainment Group had claimed initially that the photographs were computer modifications.  When more photographs appeared, EEG went silent and refused to comment on the grounds that there was an ongoing police investigation.  Even at today's press conference, EEG stated that the company and all its artistes will decline comment in the future in the interest of not causing more social harm.  The Internet forum users consider Gillian Chung and EEG evasive.
The more significant reason is captured in this comment by the Those Were The Days blogger:

The privacy of an artiste is clearly different from that of a public servant.  The private life of a public servant may affect his job performance.  For example, when a politician cheats on his wife, the public may begin to doubt his character.  Therefore, the public and the media have cause to be concerned about the private lives of public figures.  Meanwhile, the artistes only have to be concerned about their singing and acting, because their private lives do not affect their job performance.  The public and the media should not be exposing and judging the private lives of artistes.

That might be correct in general, but things are different in Hong Kong.  European and American artistes are selling their singing/acting abilities and not their moral conduct and character.  I have not seen any European and American artistes who would leverage positions on pre-marital sex, chastity and multiple sex partners to package their images.  European and American artistes, especially those in rock 'n roll music, are notorious for being licentious and involved in drug abuse.  But they don't need to disguise that because they are selling their singing and not any saintly image.

In the Hong Kong entertainment industry, some artistes have become upholders of morality.  They criticize the media for being very yellow and very violent; they preach morality; they say that this or that magazine should not have published something or the other because corrupts young people; they describe themselves as clean, self-respecting and pure beyond belief.  In recent years, the government likes to appoint these artistes as their youth ambassadors on account of their influence among young people.  So these artistes are happily shaking hands with Donald Tsang or participating in a national day gala festival in Beijing.  Do they realize that they are longer just artistes anymore?  If they want to be pure artistes, then they should not be staking out moral positions, or acting as government spokespersons, or engaging in politics.  If they do so, they must be prepared to sacrifice their privacy and restrict their own private lives because they are now public figures.  For example, if an American movie star supports the Republican Party, then the fact that she once had an abortion cannot be just waved away as a "private matter."

In this affair, the citizens and netizens are reacting strongly because certain artistes have been behaving as more than artistes.  They are using every means to criticize any negative information and reports about them.  They are setting themselves at the highest moral point in order to criticize everybody else as immoral.  Why else would the citizens and netizens call the artistes (藝人) as fake people (偽人)?

A while ago, the former wife of a hairdresser wrote a book that exposed the private affair between her husband and an actress.  But the media and the public showed no interest and the story could not even make the local news page.  Why?  Because the actress was just an artiste!  Who cares about her private life?  If you don't live in Hong Kong, if you don't understand popular sentiments in Hong Kong and if you don't know what has been happening before this, you cannot understand why people feel this way now about this affair.

In August 2006, EasyFinder published photographs of Gillian Chung changing her clothes in a dressing room.  In the ensuing press conference, Gillian Chung spoke of wanting to die and never being able to face young people again.  The photographs back then revealed nothing except her armpit.  At today's press conference, Gillian Chung was beaming with confidence.  The photographs now revealed just about everything of her.  It is hard not to notice the incongruence.

YouTube Link:  阿嬌露面見歌迷鍾欣桐裸照記者會

Day 15 (02/12/2008)

Gillian does not have any tears

Gillian: Honest disclosure

Gillian very brave

I was very naive, very silly

Gillian admits to having obscene photos taken

For the fifteenth day in a row, "Sex Photos Gate" was on the front pages of the three major Hong Kong.  I don't know about a historical record as such, but the last time when such a string was compiled was during the SARS episode when people were dying.  For example, here are the Apple Daily headlines from April 9 to April 18, 2003.  This was an 8-day run for the SARS episode.

April 09: Leslie Cheung's funeral
April 10: Malaysia bars visitors from Hong Kong
April 11: An entire family was quarantined for 10 days because one member caught SARS
April 12: Airport begins to test body temperatures
April 13: Cathay Pacific may stop flying
April 14: Five dead in one day
April 15: Seven more lives lost
April 16: What is the Chief Executive doing?
April 17: The Chief Executive wants students to go back to school
April 18: Shenzhen family eaten alive


Canto-pop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung, seen repeatedly on the internet in celebrity sex pictures that have shocked the entertainment world in the past two weeks, apologised to the public yesterday for being "silly" and "naive".

Still not admitting directly that the pictures were actually of her, the singer said at a press conference in front of a group of screaming fans: "The incident has caused lots of frustration and damage to people surrounding me and myself. I admit that I was too naive and silly but now I have grown up."

Putting on a brave face and mustering a smile yesterday during her one-minute appearance at a Wan Chai restaurant, Chung opened by saying: "Hello everybody! Happy New Year. I feel deeply sorry for the impact and influence that event has brought to society and the public. In the future, I will continue working hard and take my life positively."  Without answering any questions, she thanked the media and her fans before walking out hand-in-hand with Choi as fans chanted: "We support you! We support you!"

Chung's record company, Emperor Entertainment Group, said in a statement on January 28 that Chung's face had been put on another woman's body by computer. Asked yesterday why it had made that statement, it replied: "No comment."  Mani Fok Man-hei, Chung's manager, said the affair had hurt many people and none of the company's artists would comment further.

(Apple Daily)

Almost 300 reporters showed up for the Gillian Chung press conference at the restaurant in the Emperor Group Centre.  The dozen or so security guards were clearly overwhelmed.  A foreign reporter kept saying: "Bad arrangment."

(Apple Daily)  654 persons were interviewed by automated telephone.

Q1.  After Gillian Chung addressed the issue of the sexy photos, how did your impression change?
27%: For the better
33%: For the worse
39%: Unchanged

Q2. After the sex gate photos, do you believe that Gillian Chung should stay in the field of entertainment?
37%: Yes
34%: No
22%: Don't know/no opinion

The Biggest Lesson of "Sex Photos Gate" is the Exposure of Hypocrisy (02/12/2008)  (Li Yi at Apple Daily)

So Gillian Chung finally emerged to face the media and the public.  She had to come out sooner or later because she does not want to give up her artist career and her company does not want to abandon a goose that lays golden eggs.  She said that she was very nave and very silly, but now she has grown up.  In those few short sentences, she did not admit to any mistakes but she has practically admitted that the photographs were not the product of computer modification.

In truth, Gillian Chung had not been very nave and she was not silly.  Her image of an innocent little angel was posed.  Two years ago, she cried publicly after the EasyFinder photos and said that she could not face up to young people who idolize her.  Another time, she saw Cecilia Cheung and Nicholas Tse kissing and she said that she was disgusted and that she would never do that.  She attended the <Chaste School Campus Inauguration> organized by the City of David Cultural Centre and stated clearly that she opposed pre-marital sex.  While she was saying those words in 2006, she was also posing for those obscene photographs.  In a comment left at Apple Daily, someone wrote: "We despise you not for your licentiousness, but for your hypocrisy."

This gets right to the point.  In truth, Gillian Chung is not the only hypocrite.  Her company Emperor Entertainment Group was also hypocritical.  On the first obscene  photographs appeared, EEG announced that these photographs were manufactured by "criminal elements" using "computer modification" and they filed a police report immediately.  The Performance Artists Association was also hypocritical.  During the EasyFinder episode, the Association was up at arms.  In the face of these obscene photographs, the Association only said that "this was not just sad for the entertainment industry, but for all of the people of Hong Kong as well."  The performance artists may be sad because they are afraid their own private affairs will also be revealed, but what has the majority of the people of Hong Kong got to be sad about?  Why is there any need for the people of Hong Kong to be sad over the sorrows of a few individual entertainers?

The police were also hypocritical.  Before the Obscene Articles Tribunal even made any classifications, the police arrested netizen Chung Yik-tin for posting one obscene photograph and remanded him without bail for eight weeks.  This was clearly a case that the police was using to intimidate netizens from circulating the obscene photographs, but they claimed that Chung was involved in another fraud case.  It is unprecedented for someone to be held without bail on two unrelated cases.  This is the hypocrisy of law enforcement.  Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing rendered an "interpretation of the law" when he claimed that possession of obscene photographs "with intent to distribute" is against the law.  It was clear that the police wanted to intimidate people.

The hypocrisy of the police also showed up in that they knew that the obscene photographs originated from the computer of Edison Chen, but they still kept looking for the 'source' everywhere.  Why not summon Edison Chen directly for interrogation and ask for an accounting to see if the photographs were taken secretly or with consent?  To whom were the obscene photographs given to?  How did it circulate to the outside?  They knew where the source was but they didn't bother.  Instead they went around arresting people all over the street.  This showed that the police was unfair and hypocritical in enforcing the law.

Some of the media were also hypocritical.  They raised the banner of morality.  They condemned those who possess and view the obscene photographs.  They even condemned the other media which reported on these obscene photographs for publishing edited versions.  The exposure of the truth should be the duty of the media.  It is especially important to expose the true faces of performance artists who pretend that they are morally upright or innocent little angels, so that the fans won't be fooled.

The storm over these obscene photographs revealed all sorts of hypocrisies.  This may be the reason why "Kira" released more photographs each time that another hypocrisy was committed, including escalating the degree of obscenity.  The storm over these obscene photographs tell us that some people think that they can do anything or tell any lies as long as they close the door and leave no material evidence (such as photographs) behind.

What is hypocrisy?  In law, this refers to acts or speeches that present a narrative that is inconsistent with the facts.  In plain words, this refers to certain misleading or deceptive narratives.  The series of hypocritical acts and speeches brought up by the obscene photographs lets people feel that Hong Kong has become a city of hypocrisy.

Fortunately, there are still some media that are awake and insistent on uncovering the truth.  Fortunately, there are still the netizens, especially those who protested against the hypocritical police on the day before yesterday.

In checking the front page headlines yesterday, I saw a clear divergence of intent and purpose.

The Hong Kong Apple Daily headline was "Gillian did not shed any tears"

The Taiwan Apple Daily headline was "Gillian admits to having obscene photos taken" with a collage of those photographs.
Clearly, Apple Daily (and the parent Next Media) wants Gillian Chung dead and buried.  This was likely a payback for the EasyFinder episode (see Comment 200608#083).  Back in 2006, EasyFinder published some photos of Gillian Chung changing clothes in a dressing room during a show in Malaysia.  In the aftermath, Gillian Chung said that she wanted to die and she did not know how to ever face her youthful fans again.  Hundreds of members of the Hong  Kong Performance Artists Association turned out to support her.  Eventually EasyFinder magazine went down and was re-incarnated as Face magazine.  So it is no surprise that Face magazine and all its sister Next Media publications (including Apple Daily and Next Magazine) would go after Gillian Chung with a vengeance.
Meanwhile, Oriental Daily and The Sun said "Gillian made a sincere explanation" and "Gillian was courageous."
But more interestingly, what is Oriental Sunday magazine publishing:?  After all, this magazine is considered to be a propaganda tool for the Emperor Entertainment Group to which Gillian Chung is contracted.  Here are the scanned images from the latest issue.

While one can argue about why Cecilia Cheung got 1-1/2 pages, Bobo Chan got 1 page and Gillian Chung got 1/2 page, one cannot say that Oriental Sunday tried to gloss over the role of Gillian Chung.  As much as this is against the interests of Emperor Entertainment Group, Oriental Sunday would lose all credibility if they went out of their way to protect Gillian Chung.
These scanned pages from Oriental Sunday highlight another aspect of 'one country, two systems.'  While the Tianya forum in mainland China has been much more 'progressive' than the Hong Kong forums in covering the "Sex Photos Gate," the same cannot be said about the mainland print media.  The (edited) photographs in Oriental Sunday could not appear in the mainland print media.  Of course, that may not be a bad thing ...

What motivates Oriental Sunday to do this?  On page 4, there is a statement from the Hong Kong Audits Bureau of Circulation.  Between January and June of 2007, the average number of issues sold for Oriental Sunday was 161,653 copies.  On this particular issue, the number of copies printed is 186,553.  The implication is that 25,000 extra copies would be circulated as a result, even though this is not technically true (e.g. just because you print more copies does not mean that you can sell them).

Day # 16  (02/14/2008)  Even though no new photos have appeared, this story still occupied the front pages for the sixteenth day in a row.

(Apple Daily; Ming Pao, Ming Pao)

A 24-year-old male clerical worker uploaded two compressed files containing a hundred obscene photographs to a server located in Cyprus (Mediterranean sea) and then posted two hyperlinks at two different Hong Kong discussion forums.  He was charged yesterday with one count of distribution of obscene articles.  During the court appearance, the police presented 11 of the photographs to the magistrate, who looked at them and shook his head.  There was no evidence that the suspect would be a risk.  Therefore, the magistrate allowed him to post HKD 10,000 in bail.  His case will be heard later.  At the hearing, the court room was bursting with reporters (including one from the New York Times).

Previously, the first individual arrested in this case was charged with uploading a single obscene photograph but he was remanded with bail for eight weeks before the next hearing.  In that case, the police indicated that the man was impoverished but had seven platinum credit cards with HKD 500,000 in debt.  Therefore, the man was suspected of commercial fraud.  However, there has been no further evidence provided on this other aspect.  In any case, the issue of bond had been about the uploading of that one photograph.  The discrepancy between the first case and the latest case is disturbing, because commonsense says that uploading 100 photos must be more serious than uploading 1 photograph.

The police investigation of this new case must have started with the two hyperlinks posted at the discussion forums.  The forum masters must have provided the IP address (or other forum registration information for users, such as email address) to the police.  The police must have gone to the Internet Service Provider which owns that IP address and obtain the physical address of the suspect.

(Apple Daily, Those Were The Days)

Li Yi's opinion piece The Biggest Lesson of "Sex Photos Gate" is the Exposure of Hypocrisy in Apple Daily yesterday drew a lot of response, depending on the audience.

At the Internet forums (such as the Hong Kong Golden Forum,, Daqi, Xici Hutong, Wenxue City), netizens recommended it.  A mainland Chinese netizen wrote: "This is freedom of the press to be able to express one's views without being influenced by official positions.  We ought to applaud this kind of media.  By contrast, the mainland media do not dare to articulate their own viewpoints, even to the point of daring to report on the protest march by Hong Kong citizens.  But other people disagreed with Li Yi's piece because instead of being sympathetic to the female victims, he criticised them for being hypocrites.

In Li Yi's opinion piece, he quoted a netizen: "It is not your licentiousness that people despise; it is your hypocrisy."  Do these artistes realize that we live in the 21st century and they cannot face people today with 20th century attitudes.  In today's society, it is not wrong for artistes to be licentious, but it is wrong to deny that they are such when the evidence is clear.  It is not wrong for them to take photographs of themselves, but it is wrong to deny that they did so when the whole world knows that the photos are genuine.  When the principal character use the phrase "very naive, very silly" to explain away everything, does she think that the people of Hong Kong are just as naive and silly as she is?  Is it so hard to say, "I made a mistake back then.  I hope that young people will learn not to repeat my mistakes"?  While those are private affairs, they have been leaked to the public and there is now a social impact.  Isn't it more constructive to make a public statement to ask young people to be careful to avoid doing things that might hurt themselves one day?  Isn't that better than just saying "very naive, very silly"?

Day #17 (02/14/2008)

Comissioner of Police: We won't let the source get away

Twins concert postponed five months

Edison Chen will appear in court
to testify that the bedroom photos were purloined

(Apple Daily, The Sun, Those Were The Days)

Previously, Hong Kong Commission of Police Tang King-shing had raised a storm when he said that possession of numerous obscene photographs may be construed as intent to distribute.  This required Assistant Commission of Police Wong Fook-chuen to explain that it was alright to share the photos among friends.  This prompted a wave of Internet 'friendships' among total strangers.

Yesterday, Tang King-shing made an appearance at the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Chinese New Year celebrations, and enlightened the public with more words of wisdom.

Concerning his previous remarks about possession = distribution, Tang said: "This is just a matter of viewpoints and angles.  I cannot help it if some citizens want to target me.  But there are those who said that I was correct in what I said."

Concerning Wong Fook-chuen's previous press conference in which the announcement was made that the source of the photographs has been apprehended but the photographs continued to surface afterwards anyway, Tang said: "Wong only said that the source for the leaking of the photographs during the computer repair process has been apprehended.  It is another source who is posting the photographs on the Internet."

Concerning whether this unsolved case would affect the reputation of the police, Tang said: "There are many cases that require a long investigation and some of them may never be solved in a lifetime ... I am not talking about this particular case, so you better not take this out of context."

(Ming Pao)  This is how fake news can manufactured.  By Ng Chi-sum

Gillian Chung made a one-minute speech to the press concerning the obscene photographs on the Internet and claimed that she had been "very nave and very silly."  Afterwards, the abuse heaped at Gillian Chung at the popular Hong Kong discussion forums went up by by several notches.  Netizens listed five reasons why Gillian Chung is a hypocrite.  One of the reasons was that she attended a Christian activity in September 2006 during which she called on students to forego pre-marital sex, even though it is now known that she has been posing for those obscene photographs before and during that time.

Towards that purpose, netizens even posted a "report" as the ironclad evidence.

[Ming Pao news]  Artiste Gillian Chung was recently photographed surreptitiously by EasyFinder magazine while changing in her dressing froom.  Yesterday, Gillian Chung and almost a thousand Christian gathered at the Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre plaza to chant: "EasyFinder no way, secret filming of changing clothes no way ..." Gillian Chung and the almost 1,000 Christians were attending the <Chaste Campus Inauguration> organized by the City of David Cultural Centre.  Apart from condemning the secret filming incident, they also called on students to refuse to engage in pre-marital sex.

This was obviously a good topic for a phone-in program.  So we asked Pastor Ng Chun-chi of the City of David Cultural Centre about this and surprisingly he said: "No such thing."  They had not invited Gillian Chung to attend the event, and she was not present on that day.

So I got very curious, because could it be that the Ming Pao report was fake news?  We went to Wisenews as well as the Ming Pao electronic archives to retrieve that report.  Then we saw that the netizens had rigged the quoted report by inserting "Gillian Chung and."  For example, "almost one thousand Christians" became "Gillian Chung and almost one thousand Christians."  This created the impression that Gillian Chung attended the event and called for the rejection of pre-marital sex.

Then I got on the search engine.  I found out that the rigged Ming Pao 'report' has been circulated on the Internet like a virus for at least one week.  It is cited in hundreds of Chinese-language forums in Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan.  All those who read this Ming Pao 'report' detested Gillian Chung even more for being such a hypocrite.  So this was how a piece of fake news got manufactured.  Even veteran commentators cited this 'report' to expound at length.

Certain netizens created this piece of false news in the hope that the public would detest Gillian Chung even more.  The false news propagated across the Internet at an astonishing speed.  But it is only possible to sustain the falsity for some time.  When one uses lies to accuse other people of lying, one's own lies will be exposed eventually.  When that time comes, public trust of the discussion forums will go bankrupt.

No matter how netizens feel about the artistes or their characters, the discussions on the Internet can be free expressions but they should never distort or lie about the truth.

In the virtual world, you don't know what is true or false.  The party on the other side of the chat session may be a dog and you wouldn't know it.  Can you still trust "news" on the Internet?

(Apple Daily

During the Chinese New Year period, it is common to ask: "Have you seen the photographs?"  So we tried asking various political figures this question.  Gillian Chung is not the only person who is "very nave and very silly."

Legco president Rita Fan said that she had not seen the photos and no 'friend' sent her any.  She said that this was a private matter among people which should not have been the public focus.

Executive Council member Leung Chun-ying had just returned from England.  He said that it was fortunate that his children are studying England.  Since they are stricter over there, his children will have less opportunity to come into contact with those photos.  He appeared to be unaware that the Internet has no borders and that one can download overseas as well.

Legislative Councilor Timothy Fok represents the entertainment sector but he has not seen the photos.  He said that he thought that the affair would be over quickly but things went out of hand.  He is concerned that this affair would affect the values of young people.  He does not know if his sons have seen the photos.  He said that this affair was as cold as the weather nowadays.

Secretary of Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said that he went to the Pearl River Delta with his family over the Chinese New Year.  He did not get on the Internet and he did not read the news.  Therefore he has not seen the photos.  He said that many people told him about the importance of moral education after this affair, and he concurs.

Hong Kong University chancellor Tsui Lap-chee said that he had not seen the photos.  He said that the students are grown-ups and he cannot control what they do.  He said that the university is a place with freedom of adacdemics and the students can express divergent views.  But Hong  Kong University Dean of Student Affairs Chau Wai-lap said that he has ordered the information technology staff to monitor the computer servers.  Obscene photos posted on the network will be deleted immediately.  If a student should publish hyperlinks or the photos themselves, the university will not call the police but they will summon the student and refer the matter to the student disciplinary committee.  Professor Chau said that the offending student will be punished, although not by expulsion.


A supplement of nude photos purported to be of local celebrities published by Next Magazine yesterday should be sealed in plastic and restricted to adult readers, a member of the indecency watchdog says.  The supplement in the popular magazine contains about 100 pictures circulating on the internet for two weeks as part of the celebrity sex pictures scandal. The genitals have been obscured.

"Even though these parts cannot be seen, they are all nude pictures. Many of them even show sexual intercourse," said Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, an adjudicator of the Obscene Articles Tribunal. "While no private parts are revealed, these pictures are still indecent."  Under Hong Kong laws, publications with indecent content should be sealed in a transparent wrapper.  "The magazine should be wrapped and carry a warning that children should not read it," Mr Cheung said.   He added that the celebrity nude photos scandal had already affected society. "It is wrong for the media to pour oil on the fire. It is time to let the scandal die down," Mr Cheung said.

Shih Tai-cho, another member of the Obscene Articles Tribunal, said if he had children at home he would leave the magazine in his office. "The magazine is not quite suitable for young children," Dr Shih said.  But he did not think the content in the magazine was indecent and should be sealed.  "No private parts are revealed. These pictures were not severely disgusting and violent. And there is no child pornography," he said.  Dr Shih added that many of the pictures were already available on the internet or in print. "But as the magazine is popular in the city, it should have put a sign on the cover warning that the material was not quite suitable for children."

The Next Magazine special supplement is in fact the front page story in Headline News:

"Special issue" of obscene photographs
Society is shocked

Next Magazine is usually published in two books -- Book A is the News/Commentary section and Book B is the Entertainment section.  The current issue of magazine has a third 28-page section devoted to the Edison Chen photographs.  There are no advertisements in this supplement (unless you count the Apple Mac computer, the Nikon D70, Sony DV, Gitzo tripod and the KY jelly).  Below are some scanned samples.  Question:  Why are people up at arms with Next Magazine when it was no better and no worse than Oriental Sunday?

You see these pages in Next Magazine and you may be appalled.  But the fact is that the magazine went on sale on Wednesday and they were sold out almost immediately.  You cannot find it anymore on Thursday.

Day 18 (02/15/2008)  That would be eighteen days in a row that this story was featured on the front pages of the Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong.


... two more photos began circulating on the internet yesterday ... One of the new photos shows a naked woman resembling modelactress Rachel Ngan Wing-sze, while the other is a graphic picture taken from a low angle and features a naked man resembling Chen receiving oral sex.  The photos are believed to belong to the batch released last week because one features the same green-framed mirror in the background.

Articles of the most recent issues of Oriental Sunday and Next Magazine have been sent to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification.

(The Sun)

The Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Department did not wait for a ruling from the Obscene Articles Tribunal.  Effectively immediately, the recent issues of Oriental Sunday and Next Magazine have been removed from the open shelves at all public libraries.  However, persons over the age of eighteen can still ask librarians for the magazines.

(Apple Daily)

On February 9, 221 obscene photographs were released.  Since then, nothing happened until yesterday.  At around 3pm, someone posted the following photograph at the Hong Kong Golden Forum and asked for assistance in identifying the model/make of the notebook computer.  Immediately, people recognized that the female resembled Rachel Ngan and the room is just like the one in the previously set of ten photographs of Rachel Ngan performing fellatio on Edison Chen.  In addition to the notebook, here is a bottle of skin moisturizer, a pack of Marlboro cigarettes and a Chicago Cubs baseball cap.  The Hong Kong Golden Forum administrator deleted the post, but by then the word was that new photographs were out there.  The photographs were apparently circulated by email, since all the Hong Kong discussion forums are now under self-censorship upon warning by the police.  Eventually, the two photographs were posted on overseas file-sharing websites.  They can also be obtained through peer-to-peer services.  The other photograph appeared to be similar to the Bobo Chan series.

There is a YouTube clip of the Gillian Chung meeting with fans prior to her 65-second press conference.  Somewhere in there, a female voice was yelling out 黑鮑 (literal translation: black abalone).  This is one of the nicknames that netizens are using for her, in reference to her vulva and its color.  This is very mean and the mainstream media will not report on this.  However, this video clip is popular at the discussion forums.


Chung Yik-tin Goes Free

(Ming Pao)  Chung Yik-Tin is the Hong Kong user who was the first to be charged with uploading one obscene photograph in the Edison Chen collection onto the Internet.  At the court hearing, the magistrate took a look at the photograph, heard the police described the financial situation of Chung who had HKD 500,000 in debts and ordered him held in custody for the next eight weeks until the next court hearing.  By comparison, the other suspects who uploaded far more photographs were granted bail.  Therefore, the case of Chung Yik-tin became the center of public attention for the arbitrary standards of justice.  The government was apparently more anxious to get Chung out of detention than Chung himself.  In principle, Chung was entitled to ask the magistrate to review the case every eight days.  He could also apply directly to the high court for a review.  But Chung did nothing.  What can the government do about this guest who wouldn't leave while public opinion pressure continued to grow?
(Ming Pao)  When Chung Yik-tin, the Hong Kong police charged with distribution of an obscene article.  But was that photograph 'obscene'?  It would be the Obscene Articles Tribunal to make that judgment, not the Hong Kong police.  But throughout Chung's detention, the police never asked the Obscene Articles Tribunal to classify that photograph.
On January 5, Ming Pao submitted five photographs from the Edison Chen collection to the Obscene Articles Tribune and asked for them to be classified.  (Note: Ming Pao has to pay money for this service)  On the day before yesterday, the Obscene Articles Tribunal completed its work.  Two of the photographs involving fellatio were classified as Class III Obscene Articles.  The other three photographs that revealed female breasts and vagina were classified as Class II Indecent Articles. 
Yesterday Legislative Council member James To, who is also a lawyer, went to visit Chung Yik-tin and showed him the five photographs.  Chung indicated that the photograph that he uploaded was the very first one in which a female who resembles Gillian Chung was sitting in her bed with legs wide open and showing her vagina.  That photo was classified by the Obscene Articles Tribunal as Class II Indecent, and not Class III Obscene as the police claimed.  James To then contacted Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung and informed him that the police charge against Chung Yik-tin is not longer valid since the article was indecent, not obscene.
(Ming Pao)  Today, the Department of Justice applied to the court to withdraw the charge of distribution of obscene material against Chung Yik-tin and requested his unconditional release.  The reason was that the Obscene Articles Tribunal had ruled that the article was indecent, not obscene.  Hence, there cannot be a charge of distribution of obscene material anymore.  The petition was approved by the magistrate, and Chung was released immediately.  Chung had been held in custody for more than two weeks.  According to information, Chung was fine with staying in prison (except for the anal inspection during admission).

Day 19 (02/16/2008)


The first man arrested over the celebrity sex-photos scandal was freed yesterday when the charge against him was abruptly withdrawn after he had spent two weeks behind bars. Amid a storm of criticism over police handling of the case, Chung Yik-tin, 29, walked out of Tuen Mun Court disguised in a surgical mask and hat after the Department of Justice withdrew a charge against him of publishing an obscene article. On Thursday the Obscene Articles Tribunal, in response to an application by a newspaper, ruled that photographs circulating on the internet of a woman, allegedly Canto-pop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung, naked and spread-legged on a bed with singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei, were indecent but not obscene. Its ruling is an interim one. "After a thorough review we found the possibility is low that the tribunal will make a [final] classification of the photo as obscene. For justice to be seen to be done, we've decided to withdraw the charge," senior government counsel Hayson Tse Ka-sze told the court.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincent Wong Fook-chuen said the force had handled the case in accordance with the law and normal practice.   The police had consulted people, including some Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicators, who "don't understand why [the photograph] is indecent, not obscene", he said. Mr Wong also pointed out that Chung had admitted the picture was obscene before the charge was laid.

The Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong were much less kind towards the Assistant Commissioner of Police.  The headlines said that Wong was uttering rubbish in defending the police action.

(Apple Daily)

Assistant Comissioner of Police Wong Fook-chuen had previously announced that the police had seized the source of the 1,300 photos whereupon hundreds more photos appeared on the Internet.  Yesterday at the media conference, Wong said when the police arrested Chung Yik-tin on January 30, Chung had admitted to publishing one of the photos and agreed that the photo was "obscene." Wong said that when the photos first appeared on January 27, some of them were stored at a server in Thailand.  Tracing the path of those photos, the police reached Chung and found five photos on Chung's computer, including one that had not been published before.

Wong repeatedly denied that the police had been negligent or errant in the case.  He said that the charge was withdrawn due to the appearance of new evidence.  Furthermore, the police followed regular procedures in this case.

As to why the police did not submit the photo to the Obscene Articles Tribunal (leaving it to the newspaper Ming Pao to do so instead), Wong said that the police is not required to have the classification by the Obscene Articles Tribunal first before taking action.  If any party have doubts about, they can file an objection and the presiding judge can send the photo to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification.

When the reporter asked whether the police knew how to distinguish between "indecent" and "obscene" articles, Wong angrily replied: "Sorry, I disagree with this assertion!  I said it before.  The law is based upon the words 'violence, corrupt and disgusting.'  We took action based upon the professional judgment of our colleagues.  These are colleagues who have experience in processing obscene articles.  All of those photos were obscene.  If you have the chance, you should ask our Police Public Relations Bureau Senior Superintendent Auyeung Chiu-kong.  He has consulted with an Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicator, who does not understand why the photo was only indecent and not obscene."  When asked, Auyeung Chiu-kong declined to comment and only recommended an adjudicator to say some nice things about the police.

The key points from Wong Fook-chuen at the media conference:
- Chung Yik-tin admitted that the photo was obscene on the day of his arrest
- None of the veteran police officers who had processed obscene/indecent materials before had doubted that the photo was not obscene
- Chung Yik-tin is suspected of defrauding banks of HKD 570,000
- The magistrate had seen the photo and accepted the charges made by the prosecutor

The responses from Legislative Councilors/Lawyers James To and Ronny Tong:
- The admission by Chung Yik-tin was a statement not presented in court as yet, and it was wrong for the police to disclose it in a media conference
- The judgment of the police is suspect and they should have sent the photo to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification
- The police is grasping for straw to excuse themselves.  During the process, they are unethically ruining the reputation of the suspect and making things even worse.
- The Obscene Articles Tribunal is the sole entity that can make the classification.  The police position is challenging the rule of law.

[Additional notes:

- Why is the judgment of the police suspect?  The photo was that of a female naked and spread-legged on a bed.  Now one can go to any Hong Kong newsstand or convenience store and pick up the legal Class II: Indecent magazines with titles such as Ten Shaved Pussies or Young Girls Urinating that are wrapped in plastic and stamped with warning labels.  The photo in the case is similar to those that appear in the magazines, and it therefore Class II: Indecent under the prevailing standards.  Among the five photos in Chung's possession, two of them were classified Class III: Obscene because they involved a sexual act between a man and a woman.  Those magazines do not contain sexual acts either.  However, Chung is not charged with distributing the two obscene photos and possession is not illegal.

- The magistrate also stated that the defendant Chung Yik-tin does not have the right to decide what is obscene, indecent or neither.  Besides, Chung's lawyer argued that his client only acknowledged that the photos were pornographic and not as the more technical Class III: Obscene.  Therefore the prosecution cannot base the determination solely upon the admission of the defendant.  As a result, the magistrate awarded Chung with HKD 18,000 in legal expenses.]

YouTube Video Links of the press conference:

The hostility of the public (and hence the media) towards Wong Fook-chuen was due to an earlier press conference in which his attitude was regarded as flippant.  Here is the complete video of that press conference.

(The Sun) (157 persons age 18 or over were interviewed by telephone)

Q1.  Is the case of Chung Yik-tin one of wrongful prosecution?
52%: Yes
24%: No
24%: No opinion

Q2. Do you believe that this incident damaged the reputation of the government?
65%: Yes
22%: No
13%: No opinion

Q3. Who holds the biggest responsibility in this incident?
65%: The Hong Kong police
13%: The magistrate
11%: The Hong Kong Department of Justice
11%: Chung Yik-tin
22%: No opinion

(The Sun)  Following the example of Next Magazine and Oriental Sunday in Hong Kong, a mainland Chinese entertainment magazine has published a special issue that contains about 30 of the Edison Chen photos.  The magazine was promptly sold out after the first day.  This magazine is published by a Jiangxi media unit and is distributed mainly in the Pearl River Delta region.  According to Article 170 of the Criminal Law Code of the People's Republic of China, the production and distribution of pornographic material for profit is subject to a maximum penalty of three years in jail plus fines.

(Ming Pao)  In the shops of Toronto (Canada), laser discs of the Edison Chen photos are on sale for about HKD 40.  The cost of the laser disc is probably one tenth of the sales price.  According to a local lawyer, it is not against the law to sell these laser discs.  The police will not take action unless they receive a complain about violation of intellectual property rights.

(Apple Daily)  On July 4, 2007 (more than six months ago), 3Weekly magazine published the following report about an incident three years ago (in 2004).


This gossip columnist knows about a incident involving the man nicknamed King Kong and the woman named Big Eyes.  They were secretly involved in 2003.  King Kong is known as a skirt-chaser while Big Eyes has her entourage of admirers.  Therefore they are acknowledged to be a natural pair.  However, they could not go public due to pressures from their companies.  Today, they have gone their separately ways as King Kong has an official girlfriend while Big Eyes is supposed to have a new love.

This incident occurred during their secret involvement.  They were meeting secretly at their apartments late night.  They were in love, and Big Eyes would oblige all the demands of King Kong.

On one occasion, King Kong and Big Eyes were having another tryst.  King Kong took off Big Eyes' clothes slowly and then he began to kiss her all the way down below the waist.  Just as King Kong's lips got near the most mysterious part between the legs, he took out a mobile cameraphone and recorded the entire act of cunnilingus.  Some of the action were made while looking at the camera.  Big Eyes did not object.

Three years have passed.  Although King Kong and Big Eyes have gone their separate ways, these sexy photos remained in King Kong's computer.  He would take them out some times to look at them.  But a hacker has broken into the computer and copied out the Category IV photos of fellatio.  This hacker knew that this could mean a lot of money and therefore contacted King Kong.  Faced with the potential ruin of his reputation, King Kong ultimately did not pay up.  Instead, he contacted the police who treated as a top secret investigation.

(Apple Daily

At 3:08am on February 14, the netizen "Beef Tenderloin Number 3" posted at the Hong Kong Golden Forum.  The post consisted of a photograph of a woman's head and a notebook computer in the background.  He asked, "Does anyone know the brand of the notebook computer?" However, people quickly recognized the female as Rachel Ngan and the room as the one in the previously released collection of ten photographs of Edison Chen and Rachel Ngan.  The important thing to note is that this photograph was not among the ten.  When asked, Beef Tenderloin Number 3 said that this photograph had been forwarded by a friend along with other pornographic photos.  So is Beef Tenderloin Number Three the infamous "Kira"?

At a more practical level, is Beef Tenderloin Number Three in legal trouble?

The police cannot charge Beef Tenderloin Number Three with the distribution of indecent/obscene material, because that photo cannot conceivably be classified as such.  Here is the screen capture of his post.

The police cannot charge Beef Tenderloin Number Three with possession of indecent/obscene material, because this is not criminalized under any law.  Previously, Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing had suggested that possession of large numbers of obscene material implies intent to distribute.  This interpretation would cause Tang to become the center of much ridicule.

The police can summon Beef Tenderloin Number Three to assist in an investigation by asking him to reveal the source who could conceivably be "Kira" or otherwise connected.  But here was Beef Tenderloin Number Three's explanation: "I have several exclusive photographs that my friend said was sent by a reporter."  Is there any probable cause to think that this friend is "Kira"?  If the friend is brought in and reveals the reporter, then this becomes a freedom of press issue.  Can the reporter be compelled his/her source, especially if there is no proof that the source has distributed any photos to the public?

Day 21 (02/18/2008)  This makes twenty-one days in a row for this story to appear in the front page of the major Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong.  There is nothing new of substance, so why is it still on the front page?  The conventional wisdom from many years of data is that print media do not circulate in February around the time of the Lunar New Year.  This year was an exception as the newspapers and magazines are flying off the newsstands and convenience store shelves.  What is a for-profit publicly listed newspaper/magazine to do?

Triad reward money
To chop Edison Chen's hand

Edison Chen looks for sympathy
via special interview

Edison Chen plays victim role

Edison Chen negotiates with police
to avoid "investigation"

(Sing Tao)

The Joint Schools Photography Society conducted an Internet survey of about 400 Hong Kong middle school students.
- 55% said that they have circulated the nude photos of the artistes
- 92% said that they have discussed the affair among friends
- 74% said that they have discussed the affair with their parents
- 30% said that it was acceptable to take nude photos
- 32% said that they were dissatisfied with the police in enforcing the law
- 84% said that they thought the existing laws do not effectively control pornographic materials


Police have not sent any of the celebrity sex photos at the centre of the three-week-old scandal to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification, although nine people have been arrested and three of them charged, it emerged yesterday. The revelation came two days after one of the three men charged - Chung Yik-tin, who faced a count of publishing an obscene article - was released after spending two weeks in jail after the charge was withdrawn after the tribunal ruled the image in his case, provided to it by a newspaper, was indecent, not obscene.

Adjudicator Mervyn Cheung Man-ping said the tribunal had not received any photos from police. "As far as I know, we received only five photos from a newspaper and two magazines from the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority." Assistant Commissioner of Police Vincent Wong Fook-chuen said the force had consulted people, including adjudicators, who "don't understand why [the photograph] is indecent and not obscene".  Democrat lawmaker James To Kun-sun said: "Police should learn a lesson and send all the problematic images to the tribunal after Chung Yik-tin's case."


TVB received more than 200 complaints against last night's appearance of Gillian Chung, her first performance since the scandal erupted. Most complainants said it was inappropriate for Chung to perform at the charity show, which raised money for victims of the mainland's recent snowstorms.   An online survey also recorded more than 2,400 votes in support of the statement: "We don't need artists like this [Gillian Chung]. Please do not poison our young generations."

(Ming Pao; Apple Daily)

Yesterday at the TVB charity show, Gillian Chung stood in the front row wearing the special event t-shirt and sang with the rest of the entertainers.  Then she sang the song <In Love For Six Years> with her Twins partner Charlene Choi.  During the performance, some people called in to donate "money under the name of "Very silly, very nave."  Other names were "Chen XX," "Black Gil," etc.  All of those kinds of names were filtered off the air by TVB.  However, using the name "Twins fans" was acceptable.

(Ming Pao)

After Ming Pao asked the Obscene Articles Tribunal to classify the photo posted by Chung Yik-tin and obtained a Class II Indecent rating, the Hong Kong police met with the Department of Justice to consider their options.

The first option is to change the charge against Chung Yik-tin from distributing Class III Obscene material to Class II Indecent material.  But they did not do that.  Why?  Over the past ten years, the government has followed the <Business principles> proclaimed by the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association in 2007.  The principles stated that if the authorities found indecent content on the Internet and the website administrator did not post a warning message, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority will not immediately prosecute.  Instead, they will give a "friendly advice" to ask for a warning message to be posted and/or remove the material.  If the website administrator refuses to heed that advice repeatedly, the authorities will discontinue the service and/or prosecute the website administrator for distributing indecent materials.

In the case of Chung Yik-tin, if the authorities did not follow the <business principles> according to the past ten years of practice, they will be questioned about that departure.  Besides, the photo posted of Chung Yik-tin is long gone by now, so how does one add a warning message at this time?

The police and the Department of Justice recognized that they would lose face if they changed the charge.  So they decided to take the painful option to withdraw the charge.  That sounds nice, but Assistant Commissioner of Police Wong Fook-chuen continued to insist that the police had sufficient evidence to prosecute Chung Yik-tin at last week's press conference.  He said that the police did not make any legal errors and they could not understand why that photograph was classified only as "indecent."  This created the impression that the police were "dead-enders" and contradicted the original government intent to show that it was ready to serve the course of justice at the price of losing face.

The second option was to inform the magistrate that they disagreed with the classification made by the Obscene Articles Tribunal and they want to ask for a review.  Although Wong Fook-chuen had stated that the police could not understand why the photo was not obscene, the authorities had obtained various opinions and learned that when a photo showing only the female sexual organs (without sexual action) is usually classified as indecent.  Therefore the likelihood of a successful review was very low.  As a result, the government withdrew the charge.

(Ming Pao)  (675 persons interviewed by automated telephone)

Q1. Do you think that it is an invasion of privacy to publish someone's photographs without their consent?
80%: Yes
12%: No
  9%: No opinion

Q2. The sexy photos incident has been newspaper headlines for many days.  Do you think that there is news value?
48%: Yes
43%: No
  9%: No opinion

Q3. Do you think that the high-profile police action this time has to do with the celebrity effect?
80%: Yes
12%: No
  8%: No opinion

Q4. Do you find it acceptable to take nude photos with your partner?
14%: Yes
77%: No
  8%: No opinion

(Ming Pao)

A 29-year-old man had published the nude photos and a video depicting sexual intercourse between himself and his girlfriend on the Internet.  In addition, he also published the name and work location of the girlfriend at the same time.  As a result, the man was sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

The Department of Justice argues that the penalty should be heavier.  But the defendant's lawyer pointed out that the defendant had already been remanded for 14 days and he has completed at least 2/3 of the community service.

The relevance of this case is that the penalty for publishing the photos of an ordinary citizen was 240 hours of community service.  But what happens to someone who published the photos of celebrities?  3 years in prison and HKD 1 million in fines (which is the maximum sentence allowed)?

(The Sun)  Yesterday Raymond Wong criticized Next Media on the way that they handled the sex photos affair: "The most despicable were Next Magazine and Apple Daily.  They were like robbers crying to go after the robbers.  Theirs were the most blatant and revealing.

For the record, here are the headlines from the three major Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong.  You can decide for yourself which is worse: Apple Daily or Oriental Daily Group (including Oriental Daily and The Sun).  For the record, Raymond Wong writes a column for The Sun and that should have been disclosed in the 'news report.'

February 18, 2008  
February 17, 2008  
February 16, 2008    
February 15, 2008
February 14, 2008
February 13, 2008     
February 12, 2008  
February 11, 2008
February 10, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 8, 2008
February 7, 2008
February 6, 2008
February 5, 2008
February 4, 2008
February 3, 2008
February 2, 2008  
February 1, 2008
January 31, 2008
January 30, 2008
January 29, 2008

Oriental Sunday Explains


On February 13, Cable TV News reported that the sales figures for entertainment gossip magazines are soaring due to the sexy photos affair.  One of the interviewed women said: "People are curious.  If they dare to take photos of themselves, then why shouldn't I look at them?" This expresses the feelings of the public.

Oriental Sunday reported the affair in detail.  Even so, it cannot keep up with the demand.  The last issue (#531) ("1,300 obscene photos exposed the hexagonal affair") had 186,533 copies published (compared to a normal print run of 161,653) and was sold out the next day.  Another 30,000 copies were printed immediately and reached the market on Thursday morning.  In order not to delay the print run, the circulation figure was not updated inside the magazine.  The actual print run was for 216,533 copies and we state the correct figure here.  Within two more days, those additional copies were also sold out.  Therefore, our sales figure was more than 210,000 copies.  Here we thank our customers and we apologize to those who were unlucky not to be able to obtain the magazine.  We will obviously do our best to follow up and satisfy reader demand.

The contents involved a large number of nude photographs.  Our magazine sought a balance between the facts of the case and the limits of the law.  If we black the photos out until only the heads of the characters showed, it would not reflect the facts and it would only deprive the readers of their right to know.  So we could only follow our past practice (or even more conservatively so) to black out the indecent portions.  Ultimately, even the police has acknowledged that the regulations are ambiguous and that there has never been any clear guidelines.

Inevitably, there will be some complaints.  But based upon the interest and concern shown by the general public, it seems that more people accept than oppose this.  So we hope the authorities will understand and not tighten the rules suddenly.

On the bottom half of the above announcement, the following notice appeared:


While Oriental Sunday reached a new all-time high sales figure, there was another piece of good news.  Last Tuesday (February 12), the New Media Group Holdings Limited (to which Oriental Sunday belongs) became a listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.  On the first day, the stock price finished at $1.44, which was 112% higher than the initial offering price of HK$ 0.68.

This brings us to this week's issue (#532) of Oriental Sunday.  Once again, it has the sexy photos on the front page.

How many copies of this issue was printed?

Compared to a normal print run of 161,653 copies (as certified by the Hong Kong Audit Bureau of Circulation) and last week's 216,533 issues, Oriental Sunday printed 231,542 issues this week.  This is likely to be yet another all-time high circulation for them.  Let the good times roll ... what else is a publicly listed company to do?

(02/19/2008)  Finally, after ruling the front pages of the major Hong Kong Chinese-language newspapers for 21 days in a row, this story has been displaced by the Sun Hung Kai Properties scandal (see The Standard).  While SHKP chairman Walter Kwok may not be famous, he is very rich (note: the Kwok brothers are the third wealthiest people in Hong Kong and the Greater China region after Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee.

(Apple Daily)  Here are some statistics over Gillian Chung's appearance at the TVB charity show to raise money for the victims of the snow storms in China.  As of yesterday noon, TVB received almost 400 complaints against Gillian Chung, of which 370 opposed her appearance, 7 asked that she not appear on any TVB program and 6 asked that no Twins songs be broadcast.
Meanwhile at the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, about 1,900 complaints were received concerning the TVB charity show and the appearance of Gillian Chung in it.  Of course, the program itself isn't indecent or obscene, so these complaints cannot result in any TELA action.  Historically speaking, one has to go back to year 2000 for a comparable number of complaints against a television program.  Here is the top hit parade:
2000: Telecommunications service provider Sunday ran a commercial about a female ghost in a taxi which scared certain viewers.  TELA issued an severe warning and the commercial was discontinued.  1,921 complaints were received.

2005: Joyce Zheng, the daughter of Lydia Shum, played Snow White in the Hong Kong Disneyland open ceremony show.  The complaint was rejected by TELA as frivolous.  343 complaints were received.

2007: The RTHK program <Comrade, Lover> was criticized for being biased and promotional for homosexuality.  TELA thought that the program content was unfair and biased and issued a strong advisory to RTHK.  22 complaints were received.

2004: SUNDAY used the nude back of a woman in a commercial, which was criticized for debasing women.  20 complaints were received.

2006: The Japanese drama series <The Classroom of the Empress> was criticized for promoting violence and distorting the roles of teachers.  6 complaints were received.

2007: The televised movie <Autumn Fairy Tales> included vulgar language.  After receiving the complaint, TELA requested the television station to censor the dialogue.  1 complaint was received.

PhotoGate   Joseph Sternberg, The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2008.

Government officials here like to talk about how only a gradual transition to universal suffrage will assure order and stability. Yet the territory is now witnessing a perfect counterexample: the Edison Chen celebrity sex photo scandal.

For more than two weeks, the local press has been dominated by a flood of explicit photos of Mr. Chen -- a 27-year-old Canadian-born actor and rap singer with a bad-boy reputation and at best middling talent -- in flagrante delicto with a bevy of local starlets. The photos appear to have been lifted off the hard drive of a personal computer Mr. Chen took into a repair shop. It's the Hong Kong equivalent of the Paris Hilton sex tape, but much, much worse. The ladies involved have, unlike Ms. Hilton, built their careers around their bubblegum images. The careers of some of these stars may well be over.

But other contrasts of Photo Gate with l'affaire Hilton are more germane to the question of Hong Kong's future. For example, while Ms. Hilton's half-hearted efforts to suppress her tape were conducted by a clutch of private attorneys, the Hong Kong police have stepped in to sort out the Edison episode. One computer user was held for two weeks during the Chinese New Year holiday for allegedly running afoul of the territory's anti-obscenity laws, only to be freed late last week when the Obscene Articles Tribunal issued a preliminary finding that the photos are merely "indecent" instead of "obscene." Other alleged distributors of the photographs have been in and out of custody.

That revolving door has led to frustration with the police's handling of the case. Police Commissioner Tang King-shing and other top brass have made matters worse with a string of vague and sometimes contradictory pronouncements about the legality of simply possessing (as opposed to distributing) the photos.

Several hundred bloggers have taken to the streets protesting that the obscenity law is being applied selectively, with police cracking down on these photos because celebrities are involved while allowing run-of-the-mill pornography. Simmering in the background is the territory's lack of full democracy. Absent an open political system, there's no clear accountability for the police if indeed they have bungled this investigation.

Meanwhile, there's also the question of the Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance itself. Public opinion seems to be divided on whether it's appropriate to distribute the Edison Chen photos. Not only are the photos graphic, but the subjects never intended them to be seen by the public. It's hard not to feel sympathy for the celebrities involved, particularly the women.

But it's not obvious that the Obscene Articles Tribunal is well suited to make determinations on the decency of these, or any other, materials. The tribunal's decision last year to brand as "indecent" a coarse sex survey in a student publication at a local university had already raised questions about censorship in Hong Kong. The tribunal is supposed to uphold community standards of decency, but when the tribunal is accountable neither to voters directly nor to a government accountable to the voters, it invariably faces questions of whose standards it's enforcing.

Pornography has always been a free-speech minefield, even in the United States, which boasts deeply entrenched speech protections. Governments routinely ban, say, the distribution of pornography to children, and with good reason. But such bans are best imposed by elected governments after transparent debate. The process is arbitrary ("Is it art or is it smut?") and only an elected government can defend its arbitrariness with a plausible claim to represent the community's mores.

This scandal started with foolish celebrities exposing their private moments to Mr. Chen's camera, and then, inadvertently, to an Internet audience of untold size. It could happen anywhere, and has. But in this case, the shortcomings of Hong Kong's political system have aggravated the problem.

(Those Were The Days)

Ming Pao:

1.  If these were just pure entertainment gossip, we would have put the story in Section C (Entertainment).  But after seeing a "nude photo" last Monday of persons resembling Gillian Chung and Edison Chen and the subsequent police report filed by Emperor Entertainment Group, we detemined that this was a news story with a huge cautionary message for society.  Therefore we featured the story prominently on the news page together with an editorial essay about the virtual crime of damaging people with nude photos on the Internet.  We wanted to express our dissatisfaction and revulsion against this type of method and we asked the police to work harder to apprehend the mastermind in order to defend the moral bottom line in Hong Kong.

2. The bottom half of the said photograph was quite naked, and Ming Pao will not publish such indecent photographs.  Therefore, we excised the bottom half of the photograph.  We kept the top half because one can see the faces of the two principals.

3. We invited persons familiar with digital photographer to analyze the photograph to assist readers to determine its veracity.

4. The series of photographs the next day was even more exciting, but why did we just publish one?  The emphasis in the Ming Pao report was to say that more nude photographs have appeared and we did not have to publish every single one of them.

5. In the photographs showing the nude woman who resembled Cecilia Cheung, we covered up the indecent portions and showed only the three points required by the news story: (1) the face so that the readers can determine who is in the photo; (2) the arm so that the readers can see a bracelet which resembles the one usually worn by Cecilia Cheung; (3) the fingers so that the readers can see a diamond ring which resembles the one usually worn by Cecilia Cheung on her left index finger.

My friend said: "Fuck!  If you are going to publish it, just go ahead!  Ultimately, it is about selling more copies.  Why be so hypocritical?  Why come up with so many reasons in order to rationalize and legitimize it?  Why come up with so many excuses?"

Editorial in a certain financial newspaper:

Although the police were imperfect in how they handled the case, it was understandable because this was the only way to deter the circulation of the photographs across the Internet that has continued to hurt the artistes.

Comment: The person who wrote that must be technology illiterate!  You can stop the Hong Kong netizens from circulating the photographs at will, but can you stop the netizens of mainland China, United States and Europe from uploading?  The police have done their best and Hong Kong netizens dare not upload onto Hong Kong discussion forums.  But the Hong Kong netizens can go to the Tianya forum on mainland China or the American/European websites.  This does not count any netizens who downloaded the photographs using peer-to-peer technology such as Foxy and eMule.  Instead of criticizing the police for being ignorant about Internet technolgoy, the newspaper praised the police for its law enforcement action.  What can one say?

(Next Weekly, 02/21/2008, p. 46-48)
At first, the Hong Kong police charged 29-year-old Chung Yik-tin with distribution of obscene materials in the form of one photograph of a female resembling Gillian Chung naked and spread-eagled on a bed.  Subsequently, the newspaper Ming Pao went and submitted that photograph to the Obscene Tribunal Articles for classification.  A panel of one magistrate and two adjudicators chosen from the pool of about 300 then classified the said photo to be Class II Indecent and not Class III Obscene.  As a result, the Hong Kong police ended up having to withdraw the charge against Chung Yik-tin in what must be considered a humiliation.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Wong Fook-chuen was not happy and went privately to find a conservative Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicator to justify the police action.  This adjuicator was Mak Mei-Kei, who is the vice-chairman of the Kwai Ching district council and the vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Women's Power Association.  Next Weekly contacted Mak Mei-kei and found out that the police contacted her post facto.  They did not show her any photographs and they only asked her to "make a guess" over the telephone.
She said that the newspapers reported last Thursday that the police made a wrongful arrest.  On that night, she received a call from the Police Public Relations Branch's Au Yeung Chiu Kong who asked her: "Have you seen the photo that Ming Pao is talking about?  That is the one in which the female suspected to be Gillian Chung displayed her nipples and vagina?  The photo also has the head of the male suspected to be Edison Chen.  What do you think of that photograph?"
"I thought that it should be obscene.  I am looking it at from the viewpoint of a woman.  Whenever the female sex organs are improperly shown, it must be obscene!" said Mak Mei-kei.  The entire conversation took five minutes.  At the time, Au Yeung Chiu Kong did not explain what her "opinion" would be applied to.  For the police press conference the next day, Au Yeung Chiu Kong asked her whether she would disclose her name as a reference to the media.  Mak did nto think too much about it and acceded to the request.  She never expected Wong Fook-chuen would use her as the excuse.  "I was trying to speak on behalf of women, but now it looks like I am trying to justify the police action.  I feel helpless and I can't explain myself," she sighed.
Mak Mei-kei has served as an Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicator for six years.  She does not know Au Yeung Chiu Kong well and the police had never consulted her before in this manner.  She smiled bitterly and said: "The otaku guys on the Internet are cursing me out with personal attacks.  This is how this affair turned out!"
Next Magazine presented four photographs to Mak Mei-kei and two other Obscene Articles Tribunal adjudicators: Chen Man-yau and Cheung Kwok-chu.   The results are shown below.  The critical parts of the photos have been blacked out for publication purposes.

On the first photo with Gillian Chung showing her nipples and vagina (and this is the photo that Chung Yik-tin uploaded), Mak Mei-kei thought that it was obscene, but the others classified it as indecent.  Based upon the Class II publications that are currently on sale in Hong Kong, the exhibition of female sex organs without any show of sexual activity is usually classified as Class II Indecent.  However, Mak Mei-kei said: "The female character here obviously did not expect the photo would ever be published, so this situation is different from adult magazines.  I applied a higher standard.  Many citizens tell me that if this level of exposure is not obscene, then what is obscene?"
On the second photo with Bobo Chen and Edison Chen kissing, Mak Mei-kei thought that it was indecent, but the others classified it as neither indecent nor obscene.  Mak Mei-kei explained: "This photo is not just any ordinary kind of osculation.  The entire photograph was dominated by the intimate activity between two persons.  This close-up ought to be blacked out!"
On the third photo with Cecilia Cheung spreading her legs, Mak Mei-kei thought that it was obscene, while the others classified it as indecent.  The others were working on the standard formula that "sexual organs without sexual activity" equals "indecency."
On the fourth photo with Mandy Chen kissing a dildo, Mak Mei-kei and Cheung Kwok-chu classified it as obscene while Chen Man-yau classified it as indecent.  This depends on the interpretation of whether kissing a dildo is a sexual act.
At the moment, the Obscene Articles Tribunal has about 300 adjudicators drawn from various social strata and age groups.  Most of them are recommended by community commissioners, but citizens can also volunteer themselves.  Qualified persons are appointed to three-year terms.  There are many conservative adjudciators such as Mak Mei-kei and Choi Chi-sum of the Truth and Light Society.
Whenever something is sent in for classification, the Obscene Articles Tribunal will randomly select two adjudicators to form a panel of three persons along with the magistrate.  When there are many articles to classify (such as several hundred VCDs at the same time), the magistrate will review the material first.  When the adjudicators appear, the films are zipped through until the relevant sections are reached.  Thus, there is no interest in the surrounding context.  Cheung Kwok-chu has participated in more than a dozen classifications and he said: "We could be view several hundred VCDs a morning!  But we have three or four television sets showing different films at the same time.  The magistrate will direct us: set number one has fellatio, set number two has anal intercourse, set number three has ..."
A veteran adjudicator said: "Sometimes, both adjudicators on the panel are conservatives like Choi Chi-sum and they apply very strict standards.  Even if the magistrate tries to guide them professionally, the outcome may still be two-versus-one and then we have a case like the Statue of David!  They have even classified an academic journal on human anatomy as indecent for showing the private human parts.  Nobody in Taiwan or Japan would do that!  This is such a joke!"
Cheung Kwok-chu recommends that the Obscene Articles Tribunal should follow the court jury system by expanding the adjudicators to the general public with four to six citizens on each panel along with a magistrate.  This will make the system reflect the general social pulse more closely.

(02/21/2008)  (Apple Daily)  Following up on citizen complaints, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority forwarded issue #531 of Oriental Sunday and issue # 936 of Next Weekly to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification.  Yesterday, the classification of Class I: Neither Indecent Nor Obscene was returned for both magazines.  This classification was determined by a magistrate and two randomly chosen adjudicators from a pool of around 300 in a closed session.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority has immediately filed an appeal for a review.  Such a review would be conducted by four or more adjudicators in a public hearing.
What is the likelihood of success?
Here is a binomial probability calculation.
Let us say that 10% of the adjudicators will find the magazines to be indecent and 90% not.
If two adjudicators are randomly selected, then the respective probabilities are:
Prob (none indecent) = 0.9 * 0.9 = 0.81
Prob (one indecent) = 0.9 * 0.1 + 0.1 * 0.9 = 0.18
Prob (two indecent) = 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.01
Thus, the probability of an indecent classification with two adjudicators is only 0.01.
If four adjudicators are randomly selected, then the respective probabilities are:
Prob (none indecent) = 0.9 * 0.9 * 0.9 * 0.9 = 0.656
Prob (one indecent) = 4 * 0.9 * 0.9 * 0.9 * 0.1 = 0.292
Prob (two indecent) = 6 * 0.9 * 0.9 * 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.049
Prob (three indecent) = 4 * 0.9 * 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.004
Prob (four indecent) = 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.000
Thus, the probability of an indecent classification with four adjudicators is only 0.004 + 0.000 = 0.004.  This is even less likely, unless the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority thinks that the public hearing will bring open pressure to the adjudicators.  Given the prevailing social opinion, there will be pressure on those adjudicators -- to return a classification of Class I Neither Indecent Nor Obscene.

(02/22/2008)  Whereas the Hong Kong television news yesterday put Ching Cheong's press conference ahead of Edison Chen's, the newspapers the next morning put Edison Chen on page A1.  Perhaps the difference was that Edison Chen spoke in English, and that was less attractive to the television audience.  There is no language issue in the newspapers, because everything was translated.



The newspaper gave a lot of room for the police service provided to Edison Chen at public expense.

(Apple Daily)

At 8am yesterday morning, Edison Chen boarded Phillipine Airlines PR38 in Manila in the company of two black bodyguards.  At 1015am, he arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport.  He passed through Immigration Control and then collected his luggage.  Detectives from the Commercial Crime Bureau then escorted him out through a side door.  He boarded a silver Benz with license plate LS11 in the company of two Commercial Crime Bureau vehicles.  The press caught wind and attempted to follow them.  However, the motorcycle police officers stopped the pursuit.  This was the first time this day that the police stopped the media from doing their work.

At 11am, Edison Chen arrived at the International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay.  He began to prepare for his 3pm press conference.  The media were notified and they began to arrive at the location by 12 noon.  They saw that more than 60 police officers had set up already.  As more media workers showed up, the police commander summoned more support.  At around 2pm, more than 60 Police Tactical Unit members showed up.  Along with the members of Witness Protection Unit, Commercial Crime Bureau and emergency and traffic units, there were almost 200 police officers at the scene.

The media then got the news that Edison Chen would take the cargo elevator from the sixth floor to the level B1 garage after the press conference.  When they got there, there were more than 60 police officers already there.  When the Benz came to the loading dock, the atmosphere got tense.  But Edison Chen did not show up for some time.  Reportedly, there were some dispute among the Conventional Centre security, Edison Chen's company and the Hong  Kong police about the procedure.  At 4:40pm, Edison Chen finally descended to Level B1 and entered the car.  Dozens of police officers held hands and surrounded the car.  Thus the reporters were forced to stay outside.  The car proceeded slowly and took 17 minutes to cover 300 meters.  Finally, the car went on the expressway.  Meanwhile, the police held up all other vehicular traffic in order to make sure that Edison Chen's entourage can travel unimpeded. 
The Benz arrived at the house on Magazine Gap Road at 520pm.  The police then set up a road block and stopped all cars except those belonging to residents from entering.  The reporters had to get off their cars and walk 100 meters up, whereupon they were stopped by another police road block that proclaimed this is to be private road inaccessible to the public.
At around 10pm, a police car fleet escorted Edison Chen's vehicle to Four Seasons Hotel.  The car fleet went through red lights twice.



As for the Edison Chen press conference itself, here is the transcript (via 14K Guy):

Today I have come back to Hong Kong to stand before you and account for myself. I have never escaped from my responsibility. During the past few weeks, I have been with my mother and my family and my loved ones to show support and care and at the same time to have them support and care for me.

I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the Internet were taken by me. But these photos are very private and have not been shown to people and are never intended to be shown to anyone. These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent.

There is no doubt whoever obtained these photos have them uploaded on the Internet with malicious and deliberate intent. This matter has deteriorated to the extent that society as a whole has been affected by this. In this regard, I am deeply saddened. I would like now to apologize to all the people for all the suffering that has been caused and the problems that have arisen from this. I would like to apologize to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been feeling. I am sorry.

I would like to also apologize to my mother and my father for the pain and suffering I have caused them during the past few weeks. Most importantly, I would like to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong. I give my apology sincerely to you all, unreservedly and with my heart.

I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society. And in this regard, I have failed. I failed as a role model. However, I wish this matter will teach everyone a lesson. To all the young people in our community, let this be a lesson for you all. This is not an example to be set for you.

During my time away, I have made an important decision. I will whole-heartedly fulfill all commitments that I have to date. But after that, I decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. I have decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul. I will dedicate my time to charity and community work within the next few months. I will be away from Hong Kong entertainment industry indefinitely. There is no time frame.

I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published and I will continue to assist them. After this press con., I have obligation to help them with their investigation and hope that this case can end soon as everyone I think has the same wish.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank the police for their hard work on this case. Thank you. I believe everyone's priority now (and) my priority now is to stop the suffering and pain, for not letting this...we do not want to let this situation become more out of control. We need to protect all the innocents and all the young from matters like this. In this regard, I have instructed my lawyers to do everything possible within the law to protect all the innocents, victims of this case. I believe that a press statement is being issued as we speak on what my lawyers have advised me to do.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for coming here today and listening to what I have to say. I would like to also apologize once again to all the ladies and their families, my family and to everyone in Hong Kong and everyone in our society. I am deeply saddened by this. And I apologize to everyone (who) has to go through this. I would like to also thank you for giving me this opportunity to say what I have wanted to say all along in my heart.

I hope, after today, I can have your forgiveness. With regard to this case, with everything, everything that has happened, I am deeply sorry. I hope you all accept my apology and give me a chance. Thank you.

Video links: YouTube; 陳冠希道歉記者會(東張西望片段)

(Ming Pao)

For this incident, so far Gillian Chung and Edison Chen have made public statements.  Basically, both of their responses were public relations ploys designed to minimize the damage and win over sympathy.  But they chose different attitudes and their results are different.

For an artiste, such an incident is a crisis for their images and careers.  When they reply, it is critical that they show that they can shoulder the responsibility.  At the Gillian Chung press conference, it was like a show -- she did a monologue of 140 words lasting 65 seconds with her supporters holding up signs that say "Support Twins forever." Afterwards, the supporters chanted "Support you!"  In her short comment Gillian Chung showed no reflection and only said that "I admit tht I had been very naive and very silly, but now I have grown up."  It can be said that from the form to the content, the Gillian Chung press conference had been carefully designed.  Even the newspaper headlines the next day has been rigged by the spin doctor to be "Very naive, very silly" which is consistent with the pure and innocent image that had been carefully crafted for the Twins.

One can believe that Gillian Chung and her managers wanted to fortify her image and derive interests.  But these calculations proved unacceptable to the majority of the citizens.  When Gillian Chung sang in the charity show to raise money for the victims of the snow storms, the Broadcasting Authority received more than 2,000 complaints.  When she appeared in a music award show, TVB received more than 30 complaints.  In this incident, Gillian Chung positioned herself as a victim but she did not win broad sympathy mainly because she appeared insincere and leave people with the angry reaction of having been deceived.

Edison Chen did it differently.  He recognized the importance of showing accountability and responsibility.  During his 6-1/2 minute monologue, he owned up to the facts, he admitted that he was wrong, he apologized and he explained the remedy.  His performance may have been script by a spin doctor, but it was a superior approach.  During his speech, "sorry"/"apologize" was involved ten times.  He repeatedly said that he felt bad, he asked for forgiveness and he wanted people to give him a chance.  The entire speech made people felt that he was speaking sincerely from his heart.

... Following Edison Chen's return, the sexy photo gate affair is likely to be reaching an end.  But even so, the citizens and the authorities must summarize the lessons that are pertinent to the influence of the Internet.  In the past, the virtual world of the Internet was impossible to touch and feel.  While people were aware that the behaviors, attitudes and values of young people are affected by the Internet, people have not dealt with the relevant issues in a serious manner.  The sexy photos gate affair showed the mighty power of the Internet in a way that everybody can feel.  For example, the term "netizens" used to be just an abstract term.  But this time, hundreds of them actually marched in the streets to protest and told society that they are a genuine social group that actually exists.  There are a series of topics for families, government and the whole society about how to know, treat and live with this group.

(02/23/2008)  Back to the front pages of the Hong Kong Chinese-language newspapers is Sexy Photos Gate, as the Sun Hung Kei scandal and the death of Lydia Shum proved to be no match.

(02/24/2008)  (Apple Daily, The Sun)

Yesterday, the Commercial Crime Bureau detectives made a shocking breakthrough.  Among the computer files of Edison Chen, they found a set of brand new obscene photographs never seen before.  The females were not just the previously known Gillian Chung, Cecilia Cheung, Bobo Chen, Candice Chen, Mandy Chen, Rachel Ngan and Vincy Yeung.  The police now have far more than the previous 1,300 photographs and dozens of female stars are involved.

Yesterday was the third day that the police spoke to Edison Chen, who went to the Wanchai Police Headquarters at 2pm and left at 9pm.

Previously, the people who had already been arrested had a total of 1,300+ photographs plus some previously unreleased video clips.  The video clips depicted sexual intercourse among unidentified persons.

With the explanation from Edison Chen, the police have confirmed that 467 of the already published photographs as well as another batch of photographs not yet released were all excerpted from video clips take by a video camera.  A small number of photographs were taken by a digital camera.  Edison Chen has identified the females in those photographs and video clips.

Edison Chen was very cautious in his statements, as he conferred with his lawyer on every sentence that he said.  This was why progress has been slow.

What did you expect anyway?  There are 467 photographs out there already.  They are either female-only poses, or else they involve foreplay between Edison Chen and some woman or the other.  The photographs show up as a series.  That means that were either taken by a high-speed digital camera set to take rapid photographs, or else they were excerpted from a digital video clip.  Regardless, it is hard to imagine that Edison Chen was only interested in photographic poses or foreplay alone.  There had to be photos depicting full sexual intercourse.

As for why the other photographs or the video clips have not show up yet, there are unsubstantiated speculations (which are useless because they have not been supplemented by even the most meager of evidence):
(1) the mastermind Kira has achieved his goal of extorting HKD 5 million from the interested parties (Oh, HKD 5 million is too little money?  How about HKD 7 million?
(2) the mastermind Kira has been located by the triads and exterminated with extreme prejudice

(02/25/2008)  (Hong Kong Research Association) (1,086 Hong Kong citizens interviewed on February 21-24, 2008 by telephone)

Q1.  Did the sexy photo affair change your impression of artistes?
  4%: For the better
29%: The same
60%: For the worse
  7%: No opinion
Q2. Are you satisfied with the Hong Kong media reporting on this affair?
22%: Satisfied
58%: Dissatisfied
22%: No opinion
Q3.  Some newspaper carried this as the front page news story continuously for more than ten days in a row?  Do you find this acceptable or unacceptable?
22%: Acceptable
62%: Unacceptable
16%: No opinion
Q4. Some magazines printed a special collection of indecent photos of the artistes for sale.  Do you find this acceptable or unacceptable?
21%: Acceptable
65%: Unacceptable
14%: No opinion
Q5. Do you think that this affair caused bad influence on young people?
73%: Yes
17%: No
10%: No opinion
Q6. Do you think that this affair has damaged the international image of Hong Kong?
50%: Yes
37%: No
13%: No opinion
Q7. Do you think that the penalty for distributing indecent and obscene articles should be increased?
56%: Yes
23%: No
21%: No opinion
Q8. Are you satisfied with how the police handled this affair?
20%: Satisfied
60%: Dissatisfied
20%: No opinion

(02/25/2008)  (HKU POP)  (519 Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents age 18 or older were interviewed on February 18-19, 2008 by telephone.)

Q1a.  Have you seen the nude photographs of persons suspected to resemble certain artistes by any method (such as newspapers, magazines and the Internet)?
38%: Yes
62%: None whatsoever
Q1b.  If yes, then how many raw photographs (with no blackouts) have you seen?
01-20: 55%
21-50: 12%
51-100: 7%
101-200: 8%
201 or more: 16%
Do not recall: 3%
Average - 73 photos
Q2. Where did you obtain the raw photographs?  (Multiple responses allowed)
46%: Internet (including any websites, discussion forums and blogs)
19%: Email
13%: Mobile telephone
11%: Newspapers/magazines
  7%: Computer storage devices (such as laser disks, USB devices, etc)
  2%: Other (friend's telephone, computer photos shown on television set, etc)
  1%: Don't know
Q3. As of this time, do you feel positive or negative about this own sexy photo affair?
  1%: Very positive
  1%: Positive
29%: Half/half
31%: Negative
33%: Very negative
  7%: Don't know/hard to say
Q4. Do the people around you feel positive or negative about this sexy photo affair?
  1%: Very positive
  3%: Positive
24%: Half/half
30%: Negative
23%: Very negative
19% Don't know/hard to say

(SCMP)  Obscene Articles Tribunal re-classifies celebrity nude photos 'indecent'.  May 2, 2008.

The Obscene Articles Tribunal on Friday overturned a ruling on more than 130 celebrity nude photos published in two local tabloid magazines to reclassify them as Class II category indecent.

The tribunals original ruling was the pictures had been neither obscene nor indecent.

The decision to re-classify them as Class II indecent follows an appeal brought by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) on April 10.

Tela had sought to overturn the tribunals neither indecent nor obscene ruling in relation to the 40 pictures. The pictures had been published in February in Oriental Sunday magazine. Some 94 photos were published in Next Magazine the same month.

Tela said the text and photos needed to be taken together in any consideration of whether the material was indecent. They argued that publication of detailed descriptions of celebrities engaged in sexual acts combined with photographs despite some pictures being blacked out constituted indecency.

The text also promoted the concept of multiple sex partners an idea repugnant to reasonable readers.

The photos showed actor-singer Edison Chen Koon-hei engaged in sexual acts with seven female celebrities including Gillian Chung Yan-tung of girl duo Twins, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and Chens current girlfriend Vincy Yeung Wing-ching, niece of Emperor Group tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-shing. They were published in Next Magazine and Oriental Sunday in February. The sensitive parts of the celebrities were obscured or blackened when published.

In a written judgment, adjudicator Au See-hin said although private parts of the celebrities had been blocked or blurred, the sexually-explicit material was clearly aimed at arousing readers fantasies. He said the magazines had published the photos with no purpose other than to boost sales.

(09/02/2008)  (The Sun)

According to the evidence, a worker for the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority claimed to have purchased issue number 936 of <Next Weekly> from a Wanchai newsstand.  There was a supplement titled <The complete record of the the storm over Edison Chen's obscene photos>.  The cover of this supplement contained a number of pornographic photos that are labeled obscene.  This supplement had not been wrapped in plastic and it did not contain any warning notice.  Upon examination, it was found that the supplement contained 93 photos of Edison Chen with different female artistes.  Although the female breasts and human reproductive organs were covered up with black boxes, the accompanying text depicted the sexual activities to the readers.

In defense, Next Media said that the photos were widely available on the Internet at the time.  <Next Magazine> had merely obtained the photos from the Internet and published them after suitable handling.  Next Media also showed a copy of <Oriental Sunday> to the magistrate.  This magazine had similar cover and contents.  Previously, <Oriental Sunday> had been fined HKD 30,000 for publishing indecent material.

Upon weighing the evidence, the magistrate imposed a fine of HKD 35,000 on Next Media.

The amount of the fine has to be put into the context of the financial situation of Next Media (HKSE 0282).  For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, total revenues were HKD 3.4 billion with net income of HKD 52 million.  This judgment will knock HKD 35,000 of the bottom line.  It is also a safe guess that this issue of <Next Weekly> sold out an additional print run (which is probably more than 35,000).  What is the purpose of this charade?




(SCMP)  I've had enough of you, Edison Chen, says sex-photos victim.  By Martin Wong.  February 28, 2008.

Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi yesterday broke her silence on last year's internet sex-photos scandal - using a TV interview to launch a blistering attack on the star at the centre of it, Edison Chen Koon-hei. Addressing her words to the exiled actor, she said: "I've had enough of you. You are now talking about justice and you want to protect us? I am very disappointed ... You are lying with your eyes wide open." She told her interviewer: "He has done nothing. The photos are still circulating online. How can we live a healthy and happy life? How can we put ourselves back on our feet?"

The actress recorded the interview for iCable on Thursday after Chen testified before a Hong Kong magistrate in a Vancouver court ahead of the trial of computer technician Sze Ho-chun, accused of leaking nude photos of the actor with eight actresses and singers - all former lovers.

She said she had chosen not to speak to the media until now - or, as she put it, had "sentenced herself to jail" - not out of shame but because she believed she had to shoulder the blame for her own actions. She had decided to come out now because of Chen's words in Vancouver, she said.

Chen, 28, said in court: "I am determined to protect [the girls'] innocence. They have suffered enough." Outside court, he said: "I hope every one of the victims can become healthy again and be happy again."

During the hearing, Chen for the first time identified Cheung, Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Bobo Chan Man-woon and Rachel Ngan Wing-sze as being among the women featured in the hundreds of photos uploaded to the internet 13 months ago from a laptop computer Chen had taken for repair.

Cheung, who at several points during the interview was on the verge of tears, accused Chen of pretending to be kind and merciful. "He has never apologised to us personally and only says it to the public," she said. She said her manager had called Chen immediately after getting wind of the photos' release. "But he merely said he was in a meeting, dealing with the incident, and would call us soon, before hanging up. Then he turned the phone off," Cheung told iCable.

"He should at least have called us to say sorry if he genuinely admitted his mistake," she said.

Recalling the night she knew the photos were circulating, Cheung, who is married to actor Nicholas Tse Ting-fung - they have a baby son, Lucas - said: "I was so scared ... I went to my son's room - he was then seven or eight months old - and I hugged him. "I was so frightened I do not know how to describe it. My legs turned to jelly. I nearly lost my balance. But then I thought to myself that if I, as an adult, could not get back on my feet, how could a helpless child stand on his own? I yelled, `I have to stand up for the sake of my son'."

Asked what else she wanted to say to Chen, she said: "Please respect us women. Please give us dignity. We have suffered so much. You should not have come out [now] ... saying one thing but doing another in a bid to win the public's forgiveness whilst hurting us."

Cheung said she had received the unconditional support of her whole family, including her parents-in-law Deborah Lee and Patrick Tse Yin. "I only cried two or three times because of the incident, and then not because of myself but the worries my family have had to bear," she said.

Meanwhile, Chen was in Singapore yesterday to take part in a promotional event for a fast food chain.

(The Standard)  Cheung aims to keep the heat on sex-scandal Edison   March 2, 2009.

Fired-up sex-photo-scandal actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi hasn't finished with Edison Chen Koon-hei yet.

Last night as Chen sneaked out of Singapore after endorsing something called the "Thickburger," Cable TV viewers were treated to a repeat of the interview in which the actress gave Chen a tongue-lashing for claiming that he wanted the women he took photos of in explicit engagement with him "to get back on their feet."

Frankly, she said, she's had enough of what she claims are his weasel words. Cheung is the first of the four actresses identified in the scandal to break her silence after Chen testified in Vancouver last month. Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Bobo Chan Man-woon and Rachel Ngan Wing-sze have yet to surface.

Angry Cheung railed at Chen: "He was talking about justice outside court? He claimed he got a belief in God after the scandal. "He is still lying with open eyes and does not honor his words. To gain forgiveness from the public, he continues to hurt us."

Now, Central Station understands, part two of Cheung's interview will be screened later this week. She is expected to reveal that she has kept a diary of the aftermath of the scandal.

The 28-year-old mother will pass the journal to son Lucas - now nearly two - when he reaches 18 to let him understand her pain and repentance. "I am a public figure and a teen idol, what I have done will impact the younger generation," she says in the upcoming interview. So, stay tuned for the next episode.

(The Standard)  Gillian exposes her thoughts   March 6, 2009

Gillian Chung Yan-tung of singing duo Twins was on the verge of suicide over last year's sex-photo scandal involving a bevy of beautiful women and the main star Edison Chen Koon-hei. Last night, TVB offered a sneak peek of the Be My Guest interview featuring a tearful Chung chatting with host and station general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan. The special will be aired tomorrow.

A tearful Chung was asked who should be blamed most for the damage. Chung replied: "I have no one to blame but myself for doing that stupid thing." Asked about contemplating suicide, Chung said if she died, "the problems would shift to those beside me and those who care about me would be sad. So I gave up the idea."

Chung's forgiving attitude is in stark contrast to actress Cecilia Cheung Pak- chi's ferocious attack on Chen. "He is still lying with open eyes and does not honor his words. To gain forgiveness from the public, he continues to hurt us," an angry Cheung said on Cable TV.

Want to see the full version of her interview? You have one day to subscribe to TVB's Pay-TV.

(SCMP)  'I thought about committing suicide'  By Vivienne Chow.  March 6, 2009

Gillian Chung Yan-tung thought about killing herself - but only for a fleeting moment.

The Canto-pop star's girl-next door image was shattered after explicit sex photos of her and actor-singer Edison Chen Koon-hei were posted on the internet last year, and her future career looked bleak. But, she said yesterday, "If I died, all my problems will be passed on to the people around me, the people who care about me." So she abandoned the idea, and picked herself up for a grand return to showbiz.

Chung's long-awaited interview was shot yesterday at the Repulse Bay mansion of tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-sing, owner of Emperor Entertainment Group to which Chung belongs.

Chung said that after the outbreak of the sex-photo scandal, she lost all her dignity. "There's no privacy any more," she said. "I showed everything to everyone, and no matter what I do, I'll get the blame. But dignity is the most important."

Last February, when the scandal was still at its peak, Chung said that she was too naive and silly. A year later, she still has not changed the way she thought of herself - or her appearance; her dark straight hair was centre-parted, just like the way she looked a year ago.

"I blame myself for doing such a foolish thing," she said, tearfully. When asked why she took the photos, Chung gave a puzzling answer. "I don't know ... maybe I don't want to lose ..." But she did not elaborate on what she did not want to lose.

After the outbreak of the scandal, Chung attempted to continue her work as usual, making an appearance on a TVB charity variety show, but it attracted more than 2,000 complaints from the public. Mr Chan said it accounted for a quarter of the total number of complaints the station received a year. "I called my mother, and I cried really hard. I said to my mother, 'I'm exhausted. I can't stand it any more'. She was being very supportive and said, 'If you want to quit, then quit'," Chung said.

Chung will make an official comeback next Tuesday as the regional ambassador for local fashion chain Bauhaus' TOUGH Jeansmith for which she will earn a seven-digit sum. A Bauhaus' spokesman said that the company approached Chung for the job in the middle of last year, believing her toughness and willingness to face challenges fitted with the brand's corporate image.

The full interview will be aired on TVB Pay Vision on Saturday.

(SCMP)  Where's my apology, cries Gillian Chung   By Vivienne Chow and Ng Kang-chung.  March 7, 2009.

Gillian Chung Yan-tung wants an explanation and apology from Edison Chen Koon-hei over the sex-photo scandal that drove her to the brink of suicide, even though she doubts she will ever see him again. "I've been under so much pressure. I want an apology or some kind of consolation, but there's nothing," Chung said, echoing remarks made earlier by fellow victim Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi.

Cheung had accused Chen of failing to come forward with a personal apology to the four women who were photographed in intimate acts with the pop star. The images were later leaked onto the internet. Chung said she was deeply bothered that Chen, now overseas, had not tried to contact her.

"What he said in public does not matter. But at least, he should have talked to us ... When it happened, when I wanted to make sure what had actually happened, of course he was the one to talk to. But I could not find him. I felt so helpless."

Chung made the comments on TVB Pay Vision's show Be My Guest, previewed to the media last night. She said Chen had been stringing her along on and off for nearly five years, ever since her showbiz career began in 2000 as one half of the pop duo Twins, a brainchild of the Emperor Entertainment Group. Her singing partner, Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin, had warned her that Chen was a bad guy, she said, but she did not listen.

Chung, 28, said that Chen was her greatest love, and he had had a profound influence on her. Why did she let him take photos of them engaged in sex? She said she did not want to lose him and Chen had assured her no one else would see them - that they were for his own pleasure.

"I thought why didn't [Edison] call to apologise. Or why didn't he explain the whole thing to me? But I have had nothing to do with him any more, so whether I forgive him does not matter ... I think I will not see him again."

Chung made a brief statement in February last year when the scandal was at its peak, saying she had been naive and silly. She explained that what she meant by "naive and silly" was her love for Chen.

Her remarks in February led to criticism from those who said her response was in stark contrast to her tearful reaction to being secretly photographed while changing her clothes in Malaysia. "I was angry. I felt that I had been raped," she said. "But those [Malaysian] photos ... it was unfortunate they were leaked. There's a big difference between voluntary and involuntary actions."

Chung said she thought of killing herself and quitting showbiz. But she chose to continue, largely for the sake of her family. "I'm in this business for my family. I want to give them a better life. So I don't want to give up just like that," Chung said, referring to her sister, mother and grandparents.

After a year out of the spotlight, Chung will make an official return on Tuesday at a press conference for local fashion chain Bauhaus' TOUGH Jeansmith, a jeans brand she endorsed. She admitted her fear of the press, but she insisted that she will not run away. "[The scandal] was so long ago and all I hope is that people can at least give me some dignity," she said. "I do not expect people to forgive me ... I know the future will be tough but I will not give up."

Clips of the interview were aired on TVB on Thursday night - and led to 215 complaints being filed against Chung with the Broadcasting Authority. TVB said it received 60 complaints and 28 supportive messages. The full interview will be aired on TVB Pay Vision tomorrow.

(Apple Daily)  March 9, 2009.

Just like the Cecilia Cheung interview, the Gillian Chung interview was a sensation in Hong Kong.  I don't have TVB Pay Vision at hom, so I can only read the transcript in the newspapers.  I don't doubt that Gillian Chung is sincere, but her interview showed too many hints of public relations techniques from her company.  First of all, the interview took place in the house of her boss Albert Yeung.  Second, her manager Mani Fok interfered at the scene to the point that the interviewer Stephen Chan got upset.  Thirdly, there were significant discussions of Gillian Chung re-starting her career in entertainment and thus making it quite clear that this was a public relations show for her.  These signs make people think that this interview was plotted by her company, as opposed to Gillian Chung truly wanting to express her feelings or admitting her mistakes.

By comparison, Cecilia Cheung was much more plain.  First of all, she contacted Cable TV herself to have an interview.  Her motive was quite clear because she was just incensed when she read what Edison Chen said in an interview in Vancouver.  The interview took place at Cable TV without the presence of her manager or public relations personnel.  She did not mention anything about her career during the interview.  Perhaps she wanted to resume her career, but she certainly made no mention of that during this interview.  She emphasized many times during the interview that she was not a victim even though she really was.  But in doing so, she is acknowledging her mistake.  When the interview is so pure and plain without any hint of pre-planning, the public is sympathetic.

When Sexy Photo Gate first broke open last year, the public felt most deceived by Gillian Chung's company coming out to say that the photos were "fabricated by criminal elements" and filing a police report.  The company and Gillian Chung never gave an explanation about their actions afterwards.  Last year, Gillian Chung's 65-second press conference was also staged by her company, for which bad reviews poured in like a tide.  One year later, this interview staged by the company did not win any applause, never mind her reputation.

It is no big deal for someone to make a mistake.  The most important thing is to be able to face up to that mistake and accept responsibility.  The public will be tolerant.  But when there are too many hints of public relations manipulation, the effect is often quite the opposite.  Even if you are sincere, people will be suspicious.

(The Guardian)  Gold bullet threat to Asian star.  By Tania Branigan.  March 15, 2009.

The path from notoriety to redemption is well trodden for scandal-hit stars in the West. A sober apology; a brief spell out of the limelight; then the comeback project, prompting hundreds of column inches and, with luck, greater success.

It doesn't work like that in Asia, at least not for the disgraced pop star, Edison Chen. Until last year, Chen was a singer, actor and heart-throb; at 27 he was one of the most recognisable faces in Asian showbusiness. Then the eruption of an extraordinary sex scandal, involving the publication of thousands of his explicit photos of some of the Hong Kong's best-known female stars, led to self-imposed exile in his birthplace of Canada. The response to his attempted return to the spotlight this week has been chilling: a gold bullet and a "final warning" to make no further appearances.

Chen had made a tentative attempt to resurrect his career, with two brief public appearances in Singapore - one at the launch of a burger chain. The reaction was brutal. This week, the Hong Kong television station Cable TV said it had received a gold-coloured 9mm round and a typed letter, in English, warning Chen not to appear in public after April 4.

"We hope Edison Chen will take this warning seriously, otherwise his personal safety will be threatened," the letter went on.

Chen announced that he was quitting show business after the scandal broke last year and fled to Canada, reportedly telling police that he believed his life was under threat. He has refused to return to the territory for next month's trial of a man accused of stealing the pictures from his laptop, instead giving evidence in Vancouver.

While he has given no public hint of who might want to kill him, or why, the idea may be less far-fetched than it sounds; lurid rumours have long flown about the involvement of Triads in the territory's entertainment industry.

The head of the company behind Chen's forthcoming movie The Sniper, which was delayed owing to last year's furore, said he would continue to publicise it and Chen yesterday let it be known that he intended to return to Sinagpore to help with promotion. But a spokesman for Media Asia Distribution said it would seek the advice of both the Hong Kong and Singapore police.

The warnings are the latest twist in the biggest scandal to hit Chinese entertainment, which began when a couple of explicit photographs appeared on the web. At first, people believed they might be fake. Then, day by day, more and more appeared - showing more and more well known actors and singers in bed with Chen.

"It was the selective release of information that managed to drag out a simple event over many, many weeks. If the whole thing had been released on day one, it would have gone away," said Roland Soong, who wrily documented the phenomenon on his EastSouthWestNorth blog. "It was at the top of the headlines in the top three Hong Kong papers for 21 days in a row... People stayed up all night waiting [for more] and discussion forums were frozen because there was so much traffic."

As the story spread to the mainland, censors battled to remove the pictures but failed to stem the appetite: one online discussion generated more than 25m page views and 140,000 comments. In his apology, Chen stressed that the photographs were private and consensual. But the backlash was such that several of the women involved chose to end their careers, while others hoped that keeping a low profile might allow them to make a comeback.

Gillian Chung, half of the popular singing duo Twins, and actor Cecilia Cheung have both given interviews in recent weeks but met with very different reactions.

While people seem to feel sympathy for Cheung, Chung has been berated online and at a personal appearance this week. The problem is not just her previously clean-cut image, but the fact her company initially filed a police complaint alleging the photographs of her were faked, and that her recent comments on the furore have clearly been linked to a commercial deal; she has just begun endorsing a clothing brand.

Vivienne Chow, the culture and entertainments reporter who has followed the story for the South China Morning Post, suggests that Hong Kong may also have higher expectations of its celebrities.

"[The affair] really shattered a lot of youngsters' belief in the image that they had portrayed," she said. "People here have unrealistic expectations - they expect stars to be role models, good people and saints who aren't about to make mistakes. The reality is they're human beings."

(The Standard)  Edison sex pics trial opens   Nickkita Lau  April 7, 2009.

A computer technician went on trial yesterday accused of stealing, copying and distributing photos of disgraced pop idol Edison Chen Koon-hei having sex with at least half a dozen women, including several female celebrities. Sze Ho-chun, 23, denies three counts of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for himself or another.

Senior government prosecutor Hayson Tse Ka-sze told Kowloon City Magistrates' Court that Chen asked his assistant to take his MacBook Pro laptop computer to Elite Multi Media, in Central - where Sze worked - for repairs some time between the end of 2005 and the middle of 2006. He said a colleague of Sze backed up the data in the computer to an external drive disk that contained the collection of about 1,300 photos, depicting the celebrities engaging in various sex acts. Sze uploaded the photos onto a server and copied them into a computer, before his colleague wiped them off the external hard drive a few days after the laptop was repaired, the prosecutor alleged.

On May 8, 2006, Sze was asked to repair the computer of a home appliances store. He allegedly downloaded the photos to the store computer from the server and showed them to two women working there. The accused then allegedly burned the photos onto a disk and gave it to the women, also explaining how he gained access to them.

Police later seized the disk from the home of one of the women, and took a computer from Sze's home. Police found someone had searched online how to permanently erase files in a computer. Forensic methods were employed to recover 11 images of Chen. Police also found the images in the server of the computer store, Tse told court.

Chen's statement, taken in Vancouver in February, was then read in court. Chen, 28, claimed the photos taken with the celebrities, including Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi, Bobo Chan Man-woon, and Rachel Ngan Wing-sze, were for their personal use and not intended to be seen by others. He said he deleted the photos before sending the laptop for repairs, and did not know they could be recovered through technology.

The trial is scheduled to last 10 days, with 16 witnesses, including the two women store workers, called to testify.  Sze remains free on bail.

(The Standard)    Edison driver tells of 3-hour laptop lapse   Nickkita Lau  April 8, 2009.

Edison Chen Koon-hei's driver testified yesterday that he let Chen's laptop computer out of his sight for about three hours after he took the MacBook Pro in for repairs at a computer shop in Central. Wong Hing-cheung told Kowloon City Magistrates' Court that when Chen found out he had not waited for the laptop to be fixed, he was angrily ordered to return immediately to the shop. Wong said this was just one of the many occasions between 2005 and 2008 he took the singer- actor's computers in for servicing at Elite Multimedia, on Stanley Street. He said he usually waited either inside the store or in the car outside, unless overnight repairs were required. However, in the case of the silver MacBook Pro, Wong admitted the laptop was out of his sight for about three hours.

He was testifying at the trial of computer technician Sze Ho- chun, 23, who is accused of stealing, copying and distributing about 1,300 photos showing Chen having sex with at least half a dozen women, including starlets.

The other witnesses testifying yesterday included two former graphic designers at a home appliance company, Fanny Choy and Janet Leung. The court was told earlier that Sze was responsible for repairing a computer purchased by their firm. Sze allegedly downloaded the sex photos to the store computer and showed them to the two women. Choy said she felt embarrassed and disgusted when she saw the photos. Leung testified that during one repair session, Sze told them his colleague found some locked files on Chen's computer. They opened the photos and realized they were of Chen and celebrity Gillian Chung Yan-tung.  Leung said Choy suggested they should not look at them in the store, so Sze burned them onto a disk and gave it to her. Leung said she looked at a few photos after she got home before lending the disk to another colleague. The trial continues today before Magistrate Tong Man.

Elite Multimedia owner Terry Ip, and Tse Lap-kiu, the technician responsible for fixing Chen's laptop, are scheduled to testify.

(The Standard)  Edison pics seen year before   Nickkita Lau  April 9, 2009.

Photos showing Edison Chen Koon-hei performing sex acts with female celebrities had been circulating among technophiles nearly a year before they came into the public domain, Kowloon City Magistrates' Court was told. Testifying in the trial of computer technician Sze Ho-chun, Elite Multimedia owner Terry Ip Siu-shan - Sze's former boss - said he was terrified when asked by an acquaintance about the existence of the pictures during a 2007 shopping trip in Wan Chai.

Sze, 23, is accused of stealing, copying and distributing about 1,300 photos of singer- actor Chen having sex with at least half a dozen women, including starlets.

Earlier yesterday, Chris Tse Lap-kiu, another former Elite employee, told the court he found the photos in a MacBook Pro computer Chen sent for repairs in 2006. Tse said Sze, the only other person present in the room at the time, turned around and looked at the photos after Tse shouted in surprise at discovering them. Tse recalled telling the accused to pretend he had not seen the pictures. He also denied making a copy for his own use, saying this "would have affected my former company, and a lot of people."

While repairing Chen's computer, he left the room on several occasions, leaving Sze alone. During the repair work, Tse said he deleted the pictures from the company's backup folder, onto which they had been downloaded. He told the court that Ip, Sze and another technician, Benny Chan, knew of the existence of the photos. Tse also recalled Sze mentioning the photos some time later, and that he again reminded the accused to pretend he had never seen them.

Ip testified he ordered Tse to delete the photos after their discovery had been reported to him. The topic was not mentioned again until a year later, when Ip was asked about the photos during his shopping trip in 2007. Ip said he immediately telephoned Tse, Sze and Chan to tell them the photos had been seen by others and ask whether they knew anything about it. Ip said both Tse and Chan denied any possession of the photos, but Sze was evasive with his reply. The trial continues.

(The Standard)  Sex photo accused `a scapegoat-'   Nickkita Lau  April 22, 2009.

Computer technician Sze Ho-chun was made a scapegoat by those trying to hide their involvement in the celebrity sex photo case, his defense counsel said yesterday in closing submission.

The defense accused Chris Tse Lap-kiu who fixed Edison Chen Koon-hei's computer and discovered the photos, Multimedia computer store owner Terry Ip Siu-shan, and two employees of a home appliance company, Fanny Choy and Janet Leung, of being untruthful witnesses. Sze, 23, denied three charges of obtaining access to a computer for dishonest gain for himself or another.

Chief magistrate Tong Man will hand down his verdict on April 29 at the Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts.

(The Standard)  Jail looms for Edison sex-pics copier    Nickkita Lau     April 30, 2009

The computer technician who illegally distributed lurid pictures of actor-singer Edison Chen Koon-hei having sex with a string of celebrities will spend time in jail, Kowloon City chief magistrate Tong Man said yesterday. But Sze Ho-chun, 24, will have to wait until May 13 to find out just how long he will remain behind bars.

However, in finding Sze guilty of three counts of obtaining access to a computer for dishonest gain for himself or another, Tong also cast doubts on Chen's evidence. Tong said the majority of the 14 witnesses were honest and truthful, but he doubted Chen's claim to have deleted all the photos from his computer three to four months before the repair session when they were copied. "He [Chen] admitted he was under stress since the incident. He may be trying to water down his negligence," Tong said. He said Chen showed special concern over that particular computer when it was taken for repair, and Chris Tse Lap-kiu who fixed the computer said he did not copy the photos onto an external hard disk from the trash folder of Chen's computer.

The pictures showed celebrities such as Cantopop star Gillian Chung Yan-tung, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and former actress Bobo Chan Man-woon with Chen. A legal team flew to Canada in February to obtain evidence from Chen because he refused to return to Hong Kong citing personal safety concerns.

Tong said Sze understood, as a technician, he should not have copied the information from a client without consent, especially since he was not the one doing the repairs. The offenses he committed were very serious because he took advantage of his profession. He breached not only the trust his employer had in him but also the trust a client had in his employer.

Tong said due to the seriousness of the case, an immediate custodial sentence is unavoidable. Sze was 21 when the crimes were committed. Upon mitigation from the defense council, Tong decided to obtain a report as to Sze's suitability for detention as well as a background report - but told him not to harbor any false hopes. He remanded Sze in custody.

Outside court, Sze's mother said the family may not appeal against the verdict as it is an expensive procedure. She hopes instead the magistrate will give her son a light sentence