Lonely prison clerk Ng King-tong thought he would like to meet some of the stream of beautiful young women he saw visiting inmates at the institution where he worked.
So he used the computer system at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre to get in touch with some of them, and dated a few, Kowloon City Court heard.
But the 30-year-old's activities were uncovered in an audit, and yesterday Magistrate Henry Mierczak told him he had committed a serious offence involving breach of trust and privacy.
Ng, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent between March 4 and June 10 last year, was remanded on bail until September 21 pending sentencing.
The court heard that Ng, an assistant clerical officer in the jail's visiting room, had approached seven women using contact information he found in the computer system.
He was responsible for handling items handed over by visitors to prisoners and there was no need for him to access the visitors' information on computer, the court was told.
Ng, who is married and has a young son, has worked for the Correctional Services Department for 10 years. He said he had committed the crimes because he wanted to befriend female visitors.
A compact disc and a floppy disk containing the visitors' personal information were recovered from his home.
In mitigation, Ng said he had felt lonely and often saw 'a stream of young and beautiful' girls at work but had never formally dated a girl because of his restricted social circle. He had been 'interested in meeting young ladies' and had dated a few of the women he got in touch with. He would call them or send messages to them on their birthdays.
He said he had not intended to commit a crime.
A departmental spokeswoman said it would consider what action to take after legal proceedings were over.