Eighth arrest over nude postings

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2008, 12:00am

Another man has been arrested on suspicion of posting on the internet nude photos purportedly of local celebrities, as publicity surrounding the case began raising questions among the public about whether they could be prosecuted for downloading the images.

Police said they arrested a 29-year-old man, the eighth suspect arrested in the investigation, at about 4am yesterday in Ma On Shan.

They also said three men and a woman arrested last week had been released on HK$20,000 bail each.

Another two men and a woman were still being detained by police last night.

Democratic Party vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai urged police to clarify the section of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance stating that anyone who 'publishes, possesses for the purpose of publication, or imports for the purpose of publication' any obscene article was committing an offence and liable to three years in jail.

He said it left open the question of whether downloading the nude photos, e-mailing them to friends, or receiving them in a spam e-mail was illegal.

Public uneasiness had escalated after Commissioner of Police Tang King-shing warned on Saturday that possession of a large quantity of the photos might be illegal, Mr Sin said.

'The police have a responsibility to disperse the panic and confusion by issuing a clarification of the ordinance,' he said.

Internet Professional Association co-founder Elizabeth Quat said she believed downloading and saving pornographic photos was legal, as long as they were not publicly distributed and did not feature children.

'E-mailing a porn photo to your friend is not illegal. But once there is evidence you uploaded the photo onto the internet, your intention to have it publicly broadcast can be established and you can be held liable.'