Zheng Sheng sues Next Magazine for libel

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 April, 2010, 12:00am

Christian Zheng Sheng Association, which has been cleared of graft by the ICAC, has sued Next Magazine for libel for publishing three articles last year containing words that it says were 'deliberately chosen and calculated to injure its reputation'.

It filed its suit against Next Magazine Publishing and its chief editor, Lee Fo-yee, in the Court of First Instance this week.

The association's directors, Lam Hay-sing and Chan Siu-cheuk, are also named as plaintiffs.

They are claiming damages for libel and an injunction stopping Next and Lee from printing the contents of the articles or similarly defamatory words.

The contents of the articles, published on August 13 and 27, and December 31 last year, cannot be reproduced here. The first two were cover stories.

After their publication, Zheng Sheng, Lam and Chan said, they were subjected to searches and seizures by the ICAC. They also incurred legal costs because of the investigation.

They said they had suffered damage to their reputation and been subjected to public scandal and ridicule. Chan and Lam, in particular, suffered 'grave distress and embarrassment'.

Zheng Sheng said donations from the city and abroad had dropped because of the articles. It also lost income from some of its operations.

'The titles of the first and second articles comprised grossly untrue, defamatory and obnoxious words that were deliberately chosen and calculated to injure the reputation of the plaintiffs,' the writ claims.

It says the covers of the August issues suggested that a scandalous incident had been uncovered.

The first issue's cover and the first page of the story contained obscene and vulgar photographs that injured Zheng Sheng's reputation and aroused the public's attention.

In addition, the plaintiffs allege that Next did not give them a chance to comment on the allegations.

The association says that despite it holding a press conference to refute the allegations in the first article, the magazine went on to publish the second. It says costs were incurred for that press conference and another held on April 11.

Next did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

Christian Zheng Sheng College had been accused of corruption and malpractice, which led the ICAC to launch an investigation in August last year after it received a complaint.

Last month, the ICAC informed the Lantau drug rehabilitation school that it had not uncovered any evidence that would justify further investigation.