Police yesterday stood firm on their decision this week not to release the names of suspects and victims despite a meeting with the Privacy Commissioner at which they were assured their previous policy did not breach privacy rules. After the meeting, the leader of the police delegation said they might also seek legal advice from an independent authority. Chief Superintendent Wong Doon-yee of the Police Public Relations Branch said: 'We agree there should be a reasonable, justifiable and lawful balance between the public's right to know and an individual's privacy right. We will consider the commissioner's opinions and may seek legal advice again.' Police argued that the disclosure of an incomplete name to the media might lead to the identification of a person in violation of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance. Media groups were outraged by the police move to scrap without prior announcement or public consultation their usual practice of revealing incomplete names. The family name of suspects, victims, witnesses and informants will no longer be released. Ages, the location of a crime scene and other basic information about a police case will still be disclosed. But Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Stephen Lau Ka-men reiterated yesterday: 'Both the old and new practice of the police are not in breach of the ordinance since the information being given is not considered personal data.' The Hong Kong Journalists' Association will meet senior police officers today to discuss the ban. Chairwoman Mak Yin-ting said the association would call for an immediate lifting of the ban. She said that press freedom would suffer because it could take months before the police make a final decision. Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee admitted on Wednesday she had twice taken up with police a complaint by tycoon Kenneth Fang Hung about press reports of a burglary at his flat. Raymond Wacks, law and legal theory professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: 'It's a complex issue. If you leave it to the press to decide whether to name a person before a charge is laid, and he is not charged, the stigma and damage from naming him is very difficult to correct. But I still think the old practice strikes a balance between [press freedom] and protecting the suspects and victims.' A government legal source said: 'In the case of a rare surname, such as, a Mr Auyeung living in a certain residential block, the person may easily be singled out.'