A 22-year-old hairdresser who threatened in an internet hoax message to blow himself up at Disneyland pleaded guilty yesterday to wasting police time.
Lo Kam-lok posted a message on an online forum under the name 'Hezbollah terrorist' saying he was seeking methods of making his own bombs and planned 'to blast the Consulate General of the United States and Disneyland in a suicide bombing'.
He later removed the reference to the consulate and rewrote Disneyland as 'Didiney' because he felt he had 'gone a bit too far', Kwun Tong Court heard.
Magistrate Gary Lam Kar-yan said it was a serious offence that had the same effect as shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre.
He bailed Lo until June 22 for sentencing pending a community service and psychological report.
The court heard how Lo posted the message on the website in August last year.
Administrators of the online forum, which had 1.1 million registered users at the time, found 19 replies, one of which contained a bomb-making recipe.
The online exchange was blocked because the webmaster suspected the messages might have breached the law, but it was not deleted.
But the following month a journalist found the message and reported it to police.
The management of Disneyland began a search for suspicious items inside the park overnight and stepped up security at the hotel inside the resort.
The Commercial Crime Bureau's technology team traced the defendant with an internet protocol address and arrested him at his Kowloon Bay home.
Police said the investigation took up 213 man-hours and cost HK$32,500.
Mr Lam said there should be a balance between freedom of speech and public safety. He said the 'joke' contained sensitive words that had created concern among the public.