Taxpayers to foot bill for Net leak

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 April, 2006, 12:00am

Any compensation paid out to the victims of the blunder that led to 20,000 names of police complainants being published on the internet is to be met by Hong Kong taxpayers.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Council said all the funds for compensation would come from the government.

'Legal claims against the IPCC would be against the Secretariat and if successful would come from the government,' she said.

Lau Shan-ching, an activist with the April Fifth Action Group whose name appeared on the list, said his lawyer would write to the IPCC this week requesting information on compensation claims.

The IPCC said in a report released last weekend that it would 'consider any claim advanced and make recommendations to the government'.

Mr Lau said that if the IPCC's response was unsatisfactory, he would sue the chairman of the council, Ronny Wong Fook-hum, because 'the IPCC is a consultative body'. 'We will send a letter to the IPCC to demand that it disclose the mechanism for compensation.' He said victims were owed compensation on three grounds: substantive, which covers any actual monetary loss resulting from the leak of their personal data; emotional; and punitive damages.

But the IPCC spokeswoman said the council had no mechanism for dealing with such claims, and had yet to receive a claim for compensation, although 330 complaints had been made.

Mr Lau and others on the list, including legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, met police officials yesterday at police headquarters in Wan Chai over the leak.