More than a decade of inaction on laws over Peeping Toms has come under fire following last month's disclosure that a female university student was secretly videotaped in her room for five months. Acting Secretary for Home Affairs Stella Hung Kwok Wai-ching yesterday disclosed in Legco that the Legal Department considered making 'peeping at a person's private action in a private place' a criminal offence in the early 1980s but feared it could be misused by 'antagonistic neighbours'. 'In view of such concern, and as 'Peeping Tommery' was not a serious problem, the matter was not pursued further,' Mrs Hung said. Liberal Party and Democratic Party legislators both attacked the inactivity. The incident occurred at the Chinese University, when a student's roommate's boyfriend secretly videotaped her in a shared student room for five months with a video camera. The camera was discovered in March. The boyfriend was expelled and last week his appeal was turned down. There is no clear law at present that would enable the student to claim damages and recover the tapes but the case is being investigated by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Privacy Commissioner. And under current laws, it appears the Privacy Commissioner can get involved only if a camera is used and the person's face can be seen on the tape. A Law Reform Commission sub-committee is currently discussing whether covert surveillance should be made a criminal and civil offence, moves which some journalists allege would inhibit investigative journalism. Sub-committee member Professor Raymond Wacks said the incident 'shows how the existing laws need to be widened'.