A press council with statutory powers of punishment would be a departure from international practice, according to a Legco Secretariat study. But the Law Reform Commission subcommittee which put forward the proposal is adamant that Hong Kong needs a body with teeth to deal with press intrusions of privacy. The Legco research on the US, Britain and Taiwan showed that intrusions of privacy were resolved either through legal action initiated by the victims or through self-regulation. '[The proposal] is very similar in nature to a tribunal, which is different from those press councils established by the press on their own initiative in other countries at present,' the report tabled to the home affairs panel yesterday said. Law Reform Commission subcommittee chairman Raymond Wacks argued that individual rights and privacy were equally protected by the Basic Law the Bill of Rights Ordinance and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Professor Wacks, of Hong Kong University, said the three newspapers which dominated the market had shown 'very little' inclination to rally behind an industry self-regulation campaign. 'If we are to have a press council, then clearly it makes sense for that body to have teeth. If it's simply to be a talking shop or a body that merely raps journalists across the knuckles, it seems to be a waste of time and money to establish the body,' he said.