A local businessman has received more than half a million junk e-mail messages after an impotence cures salesman hijacked his Internet address. 'I gave up counting when I reached 561,848,' said John Sanders of Hunghom. Last night the junk electronic mail was still pouring into his office after the salesman switched products to a replacement for cat litter. 'The first thing I knew about it was Saturday when I logged on and I had 1,000 e-mails,' Mr Sanders said. Checks showed they were 'bounced' messages from America Online, the world's largest Internet firm. It later became clear a salesman had sent millions of long, badly written messages to America Online's customers entitled 'New Drug GAURANTEES [sic] Male Sexual Performance!!' offering a secret to curing impotence to those sending US$20 (HK$154.80) to an address in Los Angeles. It added: 'This drug belongs in every man's medicine cabinet!!!' However, the bulk e-mailer - or 'spammer' - did not want the torrent of abuse that such mailings can generate. And he did not want the messages which are returned - or 'bounced' - by Internet firms after users have closed their accounts. So he altered the control data to make all returned mail arrive at the address used by Mr Sanders' business, The EDI Shop, a consultancy on electronic trading. 'I really don't know why he chose it,' Mr Sanders said. 'Maybe because it has got the word 'shop' in it.' By the end of last weekend the e-mail was flooding Mr Sanders' e-mail address. It was mostly bounced mail, but included hate mail from opponents of electronic advertising and messages from impotent men. After a lull, the second batch arrived after a message entitled 'NEVER Use Cat Litter Again!!', including one which had been bounced off an account used by United States talkshow host Oprah Winfrey. Attempts to track down the spammer have proved fruitless. 'There is nothing I can do,' said Mr Sanders. 'They are covering their tracks and moving very quickly.' Robert Cailliau, one of the World Wide Web's founding fathers who is attending a University of Hong Kong conference, said he had never heard of any junk mail problem that serious. Advertising was the biggest problem facing the Web, he added. 'This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It can only be solved by a law,' he said.