Explicit ad slips past censors onto phone game

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am


A sexually explicit advertisement has slipped past the censors and is appearing on games that can be freely downloaded and used by young children.

The ad is for a location-based gangland game called Life is Crime and alludes to prostitution. It comes with an image of a fresh-faced young woman accompanied by the sentence: 'Milk girls - the most popular dealer of health supplements in Tsim Sha Tsui.'

Milk girls, or ngau nai mui, is a slang term in Cantonese that refers to large-breasted women ... and in this case health supplements do not refer to vitamins.

While the game itself - in which players commit crimes to score points and win territory - is rated as 12 and above, its advert has popped up in games that are played by younger children such as Gold Miner.

'Oh gosh, that's scary. I don't actually look over their shoulder when they play.' said Guin Lee, a 42-year-old mother of two whose children often jockey for time on her iPhone and iPad. Her 10-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter play games like Angry Birds and other titles whose free versions also feature banner ads like those on Gold Miner.

'I'll definitely keep an eye on them now, but at the same time they get so absorbed in what they're doing I'm not sure they even notice the ads,' she said.

There have been no official complaints to the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration on indecent materials on mobile phone applications over the past three years. The body is responsible for enforcing the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, which covers advertising for mobile phone apps. Unsolicited advertisements do not appear in paid-for apps.

Under the ordinance, the maximum penalty for publication of an obscene article is a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for three years. The maximum penalty for an indecent article is a fine of HK$400,000 and imprisonment for 12 months on a first conviction.

Smartphone usage is at an all-time high in the city with 35 per cent of cellphone users on the devices, according to a Google and Ipsos study.