AN article about a couple who had sex on an Admiralty rooftop watched by rapt crowds of office workers was indecent, a High Court judge ruled yesterday. The ruling means Next Magazine chiefs could face a maximum $200,000 fine and 12 months' imprisonment if prosecuted. The colourful two-page feature with six photographs described how a couple had 'passionate' sex on top of Queensway almost every day. The spectacle brought office workers flocking to the windows of the surrounding tower blocks. The article, headlined 'After work event in Admiralty - Lovers do it for real on the podium ', was deemed indecent by the Obscene Articles Tribunal at a hearing last October. Yesterday the magazine went to the High Court to get the ruling overturned. Counsel Wong Hin-lee said the tribunal ignored guidelines in the Obscene Articles Ordinance and changes in social attitudes. The ordinance says the tribunal should consider 'standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable members of the community'. Mr Wong said Next covered 'political, topical and entertainment news' and was aimed at educated people in the 19 to 45 age group. But Mr Justice Sears said: 'What's the point of putting this sort of thing in the magazine - to titillate the readers is it? What does this come under - political - is it political?' After examining the photographs he added: 'It seems odd that they had to climb on top of a rooftop in Queensway.' Mr Justice Sears suggested the article published last May might have been 'a set up' by the magazine. Mr Wong said the couple were seen numerous times on the podium, just a stone's throw from the court. The article described how the lovers brought work to a halt in the Lippo Centre when they scrambled onto the roof at 5.30 pm. Staff in surrounding office blocks would congregate at the windows as the pair kissed, then the woman straddled the man and the activity became 'more and more vigorous'. But Mr Wong said the tribunal had not given proper weight to the evidence of an expert witness, psychiatrist Dr Ng Man-lung. Dr Ng, who has researched attitudes in Hong Kong towards morality and decency, said the article was erotic rather than indecent. But Mr Justice Sears said: 'That's absolutely extraordinary - you cannot have experts on decency.' When Mr Wong argued that you could see intimate couples every day on the train, Mr Justice Sears replied: 'I'm afraid I've never seen it - I must have gone inside at the wrong time.' The judge dismissed the appeal as 'quite hopeless' saying the article was 'highly indecent'. 'I can think of no reason, other than to titillate readers and thus increase circulation, for this article to appear,' he said. 'It clearly has no educational, informational or artistic purpose at all. It's not surprising the tribunal thought it was indecent.'