The edition of Eastweek magazine featuring the photograph of an abducted actress on its cover was banned from sale yesterday after being ruled to be obscene by an official watchdog. The magazine - already shut down by its owner Albert Yeung Sau-shing - was ruled to be unfit for sale by the Obscene Articles Tribunal, meaning it cannot be sold anywhere in Hong Kong. The tribunal ruled it had published an obscene, or Class 3 article, by using the picture on its front page last Wednesday. Eastweek has five days to appeal before a penalty is imposed. The maximum fine is $1 million and a jail term of three years. Yesterday police were trying to contact the actress involved in the case, widely believed to be Carina Lau Ka-ling. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has expressed anger over Eastweek's action. The secretary for security yesterday brushed off suggestions that the government was exploiting the furore to promote its anti-subversion legislation. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said: 'This is a completely groundless conspiracy theory. 'If an incident took place which may involve criminal elements, it is the police's responsibility to investigate. 'This has nothing to do with freedom of the press - it's two completely different issues. We have already explained on many different occasions that in implementing Article 23, we will do our very best to protect press freedom.' Mrs Ip added: 'I hope the [victim] will come forward and co-operate with the police.' The Security Bureau is conducting a public consultation on implementing Article 23 legislation covering treason, sedition and publication of state secrets. The consultation will end on December 24. Eastweek has ceased publication as ordered by Mr Yeung, chairman of the Emperor Group, over the incident. The tribunal will hold a separate hearing on Three Weekly, which also ran the photograph. The magazine yesterday apologised and said it had given the photo to the police. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority has received 906 public complaints against Eastweek - the highest in the authority's history - and 171 against Three Weekly. Police have announced an investigation by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau into the alleged kidnapping, which took place 12 years ago and has never led to any arrests. The Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Journal said yesterday: 'Freedom of the press must not be undermined by more government controls.' Ming Pao warned it was time for the press to exercise self-discipline. The Oriental Daily News said it would be unfortunate if the public blamed the media industry for the actions of one publication.