The music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Samuel Wong, has been subjected to an e-mail smear campaign by an impostor posing as a staff member. Smear e-mails were sent out by an unknown person posing as the orchestra's assistant general manager, Paul Tam, to journalists and musicians on Monday. Mr Tam sent a correction e-mail to those on the list yesterday, saying that someone had created a Hotmail account using his name and the letters 'hkpo'. The person had sent out a defamatory message without his knowledge, Mr Tam said in the correction. Neither he nor Mr Wong could be reached for comment yesterday . 'It's absolutely despicable and libellous,' Mr Tam said in the e-mail. 'I will further seek MSN Hotmail service's advice and definitely consider legal action on pursuing this matter . . . I will refer this case to the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.' A friend who answered Mr Tam's mobile phone last night said Mr Tam had also lodged a complaint with the police. A spokesman for the police was last night unable to confirm whether or not a report had been made. Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Richard Turnbull said the person who wrote the e-mail could potentially face criminal charges. It was illegal to access a computer with dishonest intent or cause a computer to function otherwise than it was intended to function by its owner, he said. These charges could potentially apply to the e-mail case, although the courts had not tested the point, he said. But the act of impersonating someone else was not, in itself, illegal, he said. Mr Turnbull did not believe there was a need to write a new law specifically to cover situations such as the e-mail case. The author of the e-mail could also potentially be sued in the civil courts for defamation. A message to the fake Hotmail address seeking comment was not returned yesterday.