THE chairman of the Hongkong Computer Society's subcommittee on computers and law, Dr Matthew Lee, said the society wanted separate legislation because computer crime was different to other types of crime. But Dr Lee, who is also a barrister and principal lecturer in information systems and law at City Polytechnic, said the society also recognised an urgent need for legislation. ''If they create another ordinance and introduce a new species of crime it would take a lot more work and trouble,'' he said. ''We are not saying the legislation is ideal, but it is workable. We now agree that it is better to get something in place quickly, rather than wait for a few years and possibly get nothing.'' A Security Branch spokesman said dropping the existing bill would be a waste of time. A definition of the term ''computer'' would be made outdated by rapid technological development, so the courts could decide in each case if a device was a computer, he said. The spokesman said separate legislation was inappropriate because the offences involved were ones of dishonesty or criminal damage that could be covered by existing ordinances. A technical director of the Hongkong Society of Accountants, Mr Nick Bowen, said enforcement of legislation should be discrete to encourage businesses to come forward. The Hongkong Association of Banks chairman, Mr Steve Troop, said he had not been informed of any local banks experiencing problems with unauthorised transactions but they were unlikely to ''shout about it from the rooftops''. Hongkong Coalition of Service Industries secretary, Dr Chan Wai-kwan, said the proposed legislation could be effective because computers were ''so tied into telecommunications that a crime can be committed without even laying hands on a computer''.