Hong Kong: From Sex to Police Scandal

It has been 10 days that Edison Chen’s sex photos scandal occupied the front page of local newspapers (ESWN has summed up local newspapers report everyday.) The issue is not only a sex scandal about various prominent local pop stars, but also an outburst in response to the tension caused by the “indecent and obscene censorship” system and the police’s abuse of power.

I have written a post at interlocals.net on the political implications of the issue and have been writing citizen reports in Chinese at inmediahk.net. In brief, because the victims of the scandal refused to stand out for a testimony at the beginning, the police did not treat the case as the “stealing of private data”. Instead, they applied the Control of Indecent and Obscene Article Ordinance (OAO) to crack down on the distribution of the photos on the Internet. Local netizens were agitated, when the police prosecuted the first netizen suspect who had uploaded one of the photos and when the magistrate rejected his request for bail. The suspect is now being held in custody for eight weeks until the next hearing.

Netizen from Hong Kong Golden Forum designed a poster stating that “We want fair treatment, Not scapegoat!” and launched an online fund raising for putting up an advisement against police abuse of power. A new internet forum, the Coalition of Hong Kong online community has been set up to discuss about fund raising and protest organizing matters.

Then the head of the police force, Tang King-sing, added oil to the fume by claiming that the possession of the photos and e-mail, mobile and other P2P sharing of the photos may violate the OAO.

Diumanpark exclaimed:


Hong Kong is in deep shit, up there, we had the Obscene Article Tribunal which keeps on adding to the list of obscene articles; down there, we have the police department which takes action against netizens without concrete evidence that they have the intention to distribute the photos. This is another form of the Article 23…

我很相信,全世界(當然包括香港)有90%男人曾經管有過淫褻及不雅照片,剩下10%未曾管有過的,則因性壓抑過度而有很 大機會成為性罪犯、連環殺手等危險人物。為了應付這群犯罪的男人,政府實有必要放棄文娛區和政府總部計劃,用西九和天馬艦的地皮興建超級監獄,安置如此龐 大的積犯。

I believe that in the whole world (including HK) 90% of the male population has once possessed indecent and obscene photos, for the remaining 10%, they are probably criminals and serial killers because of sexual repression. In order to deal with all these male criminals, the government has to abandon the construction of Western Kowloon Cultural District and new government building and use the land for a super size prison.

Obviously, the case is a selective prosecution, as most of the people who have uploaded or possessed the photos are still free. Lamtw asked:


I don’t understand why the police force is so high-sounding this time. Can they explain why they have to seek help from the International Criminal Police Organization? Because the issue involves pop stars from the Emperor?


To be frank, if the photos are real, the distributors have violated the OAO, but there are numerous websites in Hong Kong and netizens upload similar photos to those sites everyday. Some would have the server overseas. Why do the police become so high-sounding in the crack down when the issue involves “Edison Chen” and other “actresses”?

Evchk, a localized version of wikipedia on internet big issue, pointed out that the police action and the court’s ruling is another case of “the poor is XX under the law”. Netizen has designed a protest picture against the legal system.

Tang King posted a recent court case to show how unfair the court judgment is. In the case [KCCC765/08] a car seller was in suspect of paying three under-aged girls for having sex and taping the sex scene. The suspect was charged for 16 criminal offences. However, he managed to bail out with HKD$40,000.

誘姦,拍片,令人身心備受永久重創的強姦疑犯,為甚麼竟比只發開了十二張並非自創,而且亦未定不雅/ 淫褻的照片更有資格保釋?…

A rape suspect of seductive rapes and who had video tapped the process can enjoy bail out, while a distributor of 12 photos (editor note: the suspect has only uploaded one photos) can’t.
Please tell me, why the possession of a few golden visa cards and half a million debt would lead to the conclusion that the suspect has bad intention, while neglecting the fact that he has proper work to do and can deal with his debt?

On Feb 5, inmediahk.net organized an action to visit the first netizen suspect and offered help for legal assistance. There is a joint statement on the website demanding 1. a court revealed of the bail arrangement; 2. a clarification of the nature of the case as “stealing of private data”; 3. a reform on the Control of Indecent and Obscene article Ordinance and system in order to avoid police abuse of power; 4. The resignation of Tang King-sing for launching the selective prosecution and creating such chaos. A video on the action has been posted on youtube :

Even though 7 people have been arrested and the police claimed that they had found the source, the problem is yet to be solved as the Internet is borderless. Confronting the netizens’ outrage, on Feb 5, the assistant head of the police force tried to clarify that possession and sharing (among friends) of the obscene photos would not violated the OAO. But it seems that the messages are too late and too weak.

On the other hand, some netizens still blamed Edison and set up a facebook group. On 5 of Feb, Edison Chen had finally broken the silence , apologized to the actresses involved and asked netizens to destroy their copies of the photos.

From the very first day, Kurk compared the issue with the Japanese Comic “the Death Note” that everyone can be the “Killer” in the Internet era. The source of origin has lost its meaning, someone else, probably away from Hong Kong, has taken up the “Killer” role in distributing the photos. 200 more photos were distributed via emails and P2P communication devices yesterday (Feb 6, 2008). It is quite clear that the Killer wants to challenge the local police force.

Kendo 1231 pointed out that the most important task is no longer catching the “Killer” as the photos have taken effect on the society already:


The most important task is not to catch the “Killer” now but to address the effect of the photos on the “fans”. Pop stars are also human being, they have love and sex, we don’t have to pretend to be moralists. Behind the door, we are doing the same thing. Of course when the fans realized that the “images” of the pop stars are faked, they can’t be the spoke person anymore. The society has to undertake such effect.


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