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?
(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.
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?
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"
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 na´ve." 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.
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?
9%: No opinion
Q2. The sexy photos incident has been newspaper headlines for many days. Do you think that there is news value?
9%: No opinion
Q3. Do you think that the high-profile police action this time has to do with the celebrity effect?
8%: No opinion
Q4. Do you find it acceptable to take nude photos with your partner?
8%: No opinion
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
Q1. The presidential election will be held in a month's time. Will you be voting?
7%: Not sure
12%: Will not vote
(Based upon previous elections, the predicted voting turnout is 78%)
Q2. In the March 22 presidential election, the DPP will be represented by the Hsieh-Su team and the KMT will be represented by the Ma-Siew team. If the election were to take place tomorrow, which team are you likely to vote for?
Q2. Why do you support Hsieh-Su? (Base: Those who would vote for them)
19%: Hsieh had a good record as Kaohsiung mayor
9%: Honest and pragmatic
9%: They are Taiwanese
8%: Good governance skills
8%: Support Democratic Progressive Party
7%: Dislike KMT/Ma Ying-jeou
6%: Love Taiwan
4%: Avoid one-party dominance
30%: Don't know
Q3. Why so you support Ma-Siew (Base: Those who would vote for them)
21%: Time to have a different ruling party
18%: The Democratic Progressive Party performed poorly
15%: Improve the economy
9%: Not corrupt
7%: Support the KMT party
6%: Good image
5%: Gentle and warm
5%: Dislike Democratic Progressive Party/Frank Hsieh
26%: Don't know
Q4. Why don't you support Hsieh-Su? (Base: Those who would vote for Ma-Siew)
22%: Ruling party performed poorly
10%: Negative campaigning
10%: Dislike Democratic Progressive Party
9%: Economy is bad
7%: Chen Shui-bian performed poorly/Dislike Chen Shui-bian
5%: Time to change ruling party
26%: Don't know
Q5. Why don't you support Ma-Siew? (Base: Those who would vote for Hsieh-Su)
7%: No charisma
6%: Lousy abilities/slow reaction
6%: Pro-Communist/Unification with China/Betray Taiwan/Ma is a Chinese
5%: Lousy record as Taipei mayor
5%: Has 'green card'/Is an American
38%: Don't know
Q6. Someone is accusing Frank Hsieh of having been an informant for the Bureau of Investigation. Do you think that this was just a campaign smear, or is it true?
30%: Campaign smear
20%: A fact
50%: Don't know
Q7. Do you think that this informant business is one of the considerations for your vote?
15%: Very important
15%: Somewhat important
41%: Not important
16%: Very unimportant
13%: Don't know
Q8. Concerning the 'green card' of Ma Ying-jeou and its expiration date, is this just a campaign smear, or is it true?
32%: Campaign smear
25%: A fact
41%: Don't know
Q9. Do you that this 'green card' business is one of the considerations for your vote?
17%: Very important
9%: Somewhat important
41%: Not important
22%: Very unimportant
13%: Don't know
Q10. When the KMT gained a huge victory in the Legislative Yuan elections, some people think that the president should come from a different party in order to have checks and balance. Others think that the president should come from the same party in order to have full control and accountability. Which do you agree with?
30%: Different parties can check and balance each other
40%: Same party for governance
30%: Don't know
Q11. Some people think that Frank Hsieh has to accept responsibility for the eight years of political accomplishments of DPP's Chen Shui-bian. Others think that Frank Hsieh is entitled to a fresh beginning without being held responsible for what DPP's Chen Shui-bian did. Which do you agree with?
36%: He has to accept responsibility for Chen Shui-bian
45%: He does not have to accept responsible for Chen Shui-bian
19%: Don't know
Q12. Some people say that the image of the KMT has been bad for a long time and Ma Ying-jeou should be held responsible. Other people think that Ma's candidacy represents a new beginning and he is not responsible for the performance of the KMT? Which do you agree with?
32%: Ma has to accept responsibility for the KMT
49%: Ma does not have to accept responsibility for the KMT
19%: Don't know
Q13. Given that you did not vote in the 2008 Legislative Yuan elections but now you intend to vote in the presidential election, which team will you be voting for? (Base: the 20% which did not vote in the Legislative Yuan elections)
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Henry Tang said that the Hong Kong police is under unprecedented pressure for their work on this case. The woes of the Hong Kong police began with the appearance of Commissioner of Police (aka Big Brother Number One) Tang King-shing on a radio talk show. Later, Tang would claim that the newspapers distorted what he said (e.g. possession = distribution). Today, Ming Pao published the transcript of that radio interview and you can decide for yourself whether Tang had been misrepresented.
Q: Big Brother Number One, how do you follow those Internet happenings on a 24-hour-a-day basis?
A: In the Internet world, I would describe this as a black hole that has no borders. If your intentions are good, then the Internet is very useful. But if you use the Internet to commit illegal activities, you can also create a lot of havoc. Internet crimes have caused a lot of trouble for law enforcement agencies. But you don't have to worry, because the Commerce Crime Division of the Hong Kong police has an Information Technology Crime Investigation section. The colleagues there are very professional and they have received special training to handle the information. Also, certain Internet service providers will follow the legal process and provide assistance. The Internet has no geographical restrictions, so that the cooperation with mainland and overseas law enforcement agencies is very important.
Q: Previously, one man was charged in court. Yesterday, more individuals were arrested. Did they commit the same crime as the first man?
A: The arrest of the three men and one woman was based upon information provided by citizens. They had the photos involved in this case and they distributed the photos. The arrests were concluded early this morning. The Information Technology Crime Investigation team is still investigating. Concerning this case, we are heading in two directions. First of all, we want to eradicate the photos as quickly as possible. We have colleagues who are responsible for monitoring the Internet and we also hope that citizens will report the occurrences to us. If we find the photos being posted on overseas websites, we will contact the relevant law enforcement organizations and Internet service providers to seek their assistance. Secondly, we want to locate the source.
Q: What crimes exactly are the three men and one woman arrested this morning being suspected of having committed?
A: We believe that they possess the photos involved in this case and they intend to distribute them.
Q: Is it against the law to have the photos but not distribute them?
A: I know that many citizens are worried if it is a crime to have one photo on their computer accidentally. Actually, pure possession is possibly illegal. This is an issue of quantity. If you have a large amount of photos, we could suspect that you may be ready to distribute them or that you want to sell those photos for profit.
Q: Many of our listeners may have those photos and they are therefore worried. What crime might they have committed exactly?
A: I just explained that.
Q: Has the source been located? Actually, after the photos show up on the Internet, the sources are everywhere. What can you do?
A: You are correct. Therefore, our work has two aspects. On one hand, we eradicate the photos. On the other hand, we find the source.
Q: Many of the principals in the affair are not in Hong Kong. Is it easy to contact them?
A: This is relatively complicated, but we have good relationships with overseas law enforcement agencies. There should not be any big problems.
Q: If the source is not in Hong Kong, then what can the police do?
A: If the source is not in Hong Kong, it is relatively more troublesome. Besides, if the source is overseas, they may not be breaking any laws.
Q: Actually, the police have taken many actions already. Are these actions meant to warn people, or to solve the problem itself?
A: Both. We are trying to solve the problem and we hope the warning message is a by-product of these actions.
Q: According to the prior record, the Information Technology Crime Investigation unit has not contributed much towards piracy on the Internet.
A: You cannot say that. This is a matter of priority and responsibility. Actually, piracy has nothing to do with the Information Technology Crime Investigation unit.
Q: Is there an increasing trend for Internet crimes? How are the police dealing with it?
A: During the past year, Internet-related crimes have gone down. The Information Technology Crime Investigation unit realizes that the citizens are spending more time on the Internet. We will do more local work to publicize to and educate young people. We will also go to large corporations to teach them about preventing computer intrusion.
Q: Will you cooperate with the InterPol?
A: Although I said before that the Internet has no borders, things ultimately happen on Earth ... international cooperation is important, not just with the mainland alone.
Q: How are the Internet service providers cooperating with you?
A: The Internet service providers should call upon their users not to upload indecent photos. But the Internet is too big and the Internet service providers are limited in what they can do. There is no law that can restrict the Internet service providers. But so far, our cooperative relationships with the Internet service providers have been quite good.
Q: This is unfair to the citizens. The citizens obtain these photos through the platform provided by the Internet service providers. After they download and save the photos, they can get arrested. But the Internet service providers bear no responsibility.
A: Actually, it is illegal only if one saves the photos and then distributes them. There has to be a large quantity saved with the intent to distribute or sell.
Q: What is the definition of a 'large quantity'?
A: Is it 10 photos, 20 photos, 200 photos or 2,000 photos? I don't mean the quantity itself. I think we have to decided whether this is a reasonable number, and it also depends on the surrounding evidence.
Q: What is the penalty?
A: It can be quite severe.
Q: That means going to prison.
Q: Is it illegal to distribute photos via email?
A: Every detail has to be studied carefully. The experts at the Information Technology Crime Investigation unit will investigate in detail.
At a more practical level, is the Beef Tenderloin Number Three netizen in trouble with the police?
The police cannot charge Beef Tenderloin Number Three with the distribution of indecent/obscene material, because that photo cannot conceivably be classified as such.
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?
It should be pointed out the print media is not under the jurisdiction of the NCC. So here is a situation in which what appeared in print could not be allowed on television.
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.
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.
- 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?
24%: No opinion
Q2. Do you believe that this incident damaged the reputation of the government?
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.
... 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 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.
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.
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 get 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 na´ve 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?
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 na´ve 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 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.
The two Congresses of the Tongzhou district (Beijing city) were held on January 8-11. On January 10, the Tongzhou district party publicity department's newspaper <Tongzhou Times-News> showed a photograph of Tongzhou district leader Deng Naiping reading his report. According to those who have seen the newspaper, the district leader "looked weird because his eyes seemed to be closed." This photograph was two columns wide and it was the only photograph on the page. The rest of the page contained the government work report as delivered by the district leader.
According to sources familiar with publicity work in the Tongzhou district, the district leaders has small eyes and "he does not like to raise his head" when he speaks. A worker at last year's two Congresses had to watch the district leader very closely in order to catch the moment that he raised his head to take a photograph.
This year, the two Congresses of the Tongzhou district was held in Hebei. During this time, the publicity department head would go back to Tongzhou every night to supervise the newspaper publication. On the night when the January 10th photograph was to be chosen, the publicity department head was at a loss because the district leader had his eyes closed in every photo.
Afterwards, the Tongzhou district party publicity department person in charge of news was asked to write a self-criticism. At around noon, the photographer was also asked to write a self-criticism with the warning that a superficial report would lead to dismissal. In the afternoon, the photographer was dismissed. From the time when the photo was taken to the dismissal, less than three days had passed.
I wish I could find that photo, but it is not that easy. But here is Tongzhou district leader Deng Naiping in July 2006 at another function (via Sohu).
Related Link: Will anyone dare to take this district mayor's photo now? Joel Martinsen, Danwei
 Day 16 of "Sex Photos Gate" (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, Discuss.com.hk, 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"?
 Oriental Sunday on the "Sex Photos Gate" (02/13/2008)
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 over why Cecilia Cheung got 1-1/2 pages, Bobo Chan got 1 page and Gillian Chung got only 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 Audit Bureau of Circulation. Between January and June of 2007, the average number of issues sold for Oriental Sunday was 161,653 copies. For this particular week, 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).
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 na´ve 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 na´ve 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 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 angles, 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).
What is hypocrisy? In law, this refers to acts or speeches that present a narrative that is inconsistent with the facts. Simply put, 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.
 Day Fifteen of "Sex Photos Gate" (02/12/2008)
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.
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.
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
Q2. After the sex gate photos, do you believe that Gillian Chung should stay in the field of entertainment?
22%: Don't know/no opinion
 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 na´ve and very silly 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 na´ve, 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 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 na´ve, very stupid." People pointed to the KY jelly in the background of one of her photographs and asked: "If she had been 'very na´ve, 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. 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
These three photographs were pebbles that generated thousands of layers of waves. The first photo is the South China tiger photo taken by Shaanxi province Zhenping town peasant Zhou Zhenglong. The second photo is the one taken by Hubei province Tianmen resident Wei Wenhua about violence wrought by the municipal administrators. The third photo belongs to the set of intimate photos from Edison Chen. As of now, the real photo has become the fake photo, the suspiciously fake photo has become the real photo and the one photo whose authenticity was never in doubt will never be seen by us (and we won't see the photographer either). Before these photos fade into history, I would like to discuss the relationships between rights and powers behind these photographs.
In the matter of the South China tiger, a belated apology has been made by the Shaanxi provincial Department of Forestry, even if they are still being vague. Was this merely a matter of working style or discipline as they asserted? Will a better working system or a more rigorous procedure solve the problems? The point here is about how power can make a fake photo into a real one. The Shaanxi provincial Department of Forestry claimed that it wants to continue the authentication process and will give a full accounting to the public when the results are in. This is just a stalling tactic that attempts to evade the real issue. Conducting more verification is just a waste of more public funds. But even so, this case has shown how rights and powers have confronted each other. The belated and inadequate apology could not have come without the efforts and pressures applied by the netizens. Without the interaction between the Internet and print media in the public space, the authorities would not have bowed down because the photo could have been pronounced as real and the denouncer be retaliated against. Any authoritative body is an interest group with its own interests which sometimes come into conflict with citizen rights. In the self-criticism of the Shaanxi provincial Department of Forestry, the relevant personnel supposedly handled the matter inadequately "so as to increase public attention and thus causing harmful social impact and damaging the image of the government to a certain extent." In a matter of public interest, public attention is a good thing -- so how can the authorities characterize it as leading to harmful social impact? This presentation itself damages the image of the government. Public opinion is a form of power and so too is the government. It would seem here that the government does not like public opinion. The lesson from the South China tiger photo affair is that one of the relations between rights and powers is that public opinion can be used to monitor the authorities (regardless of the issue of image).
A Southern Metropolis Daily opinion column editor has this signature on his MSN: "Zhou Zhenglong took a photo of a tiger and he survived; Wei Wenhua took a photo of municipal administrators but he is dead." Let me add a sub-title: "Municipal administrators are even more fearsome than tigers." Yes, in a matter of five minutes, a man died at the hands of a bunch of uniformed men. To destroy the evidence, they killed the witness. Such is how the municipal administration carries out its will of authority. In our society today, rights (and most often the rights of the grassroots) are often in conflict with the authorities. Through the malignant tumor of the municipal administration, the opposition is shown starkly ... In the administrative management of the cities or the handling of conflicts with the rights of the grassroots, the authorities have habitually relied on the municipal administrators to achieve their goals efficiently. When the municipal administrators have intensified the conflict between rights and powers time and again, the call has come for the abolition of the system of municipal administration and the powers themselves need to review this problem. Perhaps some day soon, the evil forces in the cities will be eradicated and the tragedy of Wei Wenhua will not happen again. Here, we must be genuinely grateful to this citizen hero who showed no fear in the face of the violence of the municipal administrators. Although he fell under the attack of the powers, he has set a good example of a responsible citizen. In the name of all citizens, we will remember him forever.
The "Sex Photos Gate" is a farce. At this time, the uploaders have been arrested but the Hong Kong citizens are unhappy. They wanted to march on February 10 to protest the unfairness of the Hong Kong police who only know to go after small citizens while ignoring the source. They marched yesterday to the Wanchai police headquarters to protest the threatening words from Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing, who said that possession of large numbers of obscene articles may be inferred to be evidence of intent to distribute. The awareness of Hong Kong citizens is high and, under "one country, two systems," they could march to express their will in front of the police station. This was also a fight between rights and powers. In a normal democratic society, the powers have to listen to the sounds of the rights even if they are reluctant to do so. However, one must be wary that the improper actions of the police have triggered inappropriate demands -- 70% of netizens voted to de-criminalize uploading and they also wanted the police to arrest Edison Chen for taking the photographs and being the source. But this is demanding the authorities to hurt another victim. Chen may be the photographer, but he is also a victim whose privacy has been invaded. Unless the photographs were taken by force, it is not against the law to take such photographs; the criminals are those who circulated the photographs on the Internet. No matter how you look at it, this was a major invasion of privacy that caused severe mental distress on the principals. In examining this case, we see that the authorities must not selectively enforce the law. When that happens, there will be a reaction from the citizens whose rights are infringed upon. Once the people are incensed, conflicts among various rights may lead to more injustice and damages.
These are three storms caused by three photographs. Behind each case, one can analyse the relationship between rights and powers. Such are the eternal conflicts in human society.
 Day Thirteen of the "Sexy
Photo Gate" (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.
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.