Tycoon jailed for lewd photos

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2012, 12:00am


A gay businessman who tricked male models into taking photos in G-strings and threatened to publicise the embarrassing pictures was called 'despicable' yesterday, as a judge sentenced him to 17 months in jail.

Jerome Lau Ting-sing (pictured) stood impassively in the dock as Deputy District Court Judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung called him 'callous' and 'selfish' for preying on young men who aspired to modelling jobs.

'Dandy Lau', as the 62-year-old is commonly known, was found guilty last month of one count of indecent assault against 'model A', and two counts of criminal intimidation against models A and D, between 2003 and 2008.

Another charge of indecent assault on another man, 'actor B', was dismissed.

Lau's sensational trial gripped public attention as it revived memories of a police scandal in 1995 when 5,000 nude and semi-nude pictures of officers were seized from Lau's home.

Some 56 junior officers faced disciplinary hearings, of whom at least six were fired and four were forced to retire. Lau was not charged.

In the recent case, the court was told that Lau took advantage of the young men's desire for fame in the modelling and entertainment industry to trick them into taking explicit photos in compromising poses. More than 60,000 lewd photos of male models were seized from Lau.

'Such behaviour is abhorred by the public and must be discouraged,' said Lin, who criticised Lau for abusing his financial power to exploit the victims. 'It is not only illegal but also morally despicable.

'The young men, lacking in experience and with little sense of self-preservation, are vulnerable to [Lau's] unscrupulous scheming.'

Lau's lawyer, citing his psychological report, had earlier told the court that the flamboyant businessman was driven to commit the crimes out of loneliness and low self-esteem. Lau started taking lewd photos of men for sexual gratification in 1988.

A psychologist's report described Lau as immature, carefree and egocentric.

He studied at elite Diocesan Boys' School and received bachelor's degree from Chinese University before inheriting his father's fortune, the court heard. He had no formal employment except outside of the family business.

Lin said Lau's background and his psychological profile did little to offset his crimes.

The judge nonetheless decided to cut three months off an initial jail term of 20 months, after taking into account pleas by Lau's bedridden 92-year-old mother who described her son as being 'kind', 'filial' and her main source of support.

The court heard that Lau had approached the victims in the street and told them he owned a fashion brand. He lured them to what he described as a casting call and had them take photos in G-strings in sexual poses.

In one session, he repeatedly touched model A's genitals. He also asked model A if he wanted to solicit, earning money by having sex with rich women.

His 26-year-old co-defendant, Lo Yan-kit, a former member of the boy band 4anda who pleaded guilty to one count of criminal intimidation, will be sentenced on June 21.