PORNOGRAPHIC comic books would have to be placed in opaque wrappers under proposed legal changes sparked by pressure from the public and political parties.
Nothing could be printed on the wrapper except the name of the publication, name and address of the publisher, date of publication and the issue number, according to amendments to the Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance suggested by the Recreation and Culture Branch.
The branch suggested the present warning notice - that the publication not be sold to people under 18 - be at least 20 per cent of the size of the front cover.
It said police and customs officers should be empowered to seize indecent articles which might constitute evidence of an offence.
At present, prosecution may be carried out only where a person is seen by the enforcement officers to have sold or hired the books to juveniles.
A new provision to render the whole publication indecent or obscene if one of the articles is classified as such is also to be proposed.
At present, it is common for an indecent or obscene article to be contained in a publication containing many other articles which are neither indecent nor obscene. The proposed provision aims to forestall possible arguments by a defendant that he sold the publication as a whole and not the offending article.
The branch admitted that a large number of indecent comic books targeting young people had emerged and such publications often belonged to Class II - prohibited from sale to persons under 18. The amendments will be put to Legco in May.