The scandal over publication of Twins star Gillian Chung Yan-tung's photographs has renewed calls for the government to implement law reform recommendations made since 1999 to provide legal remedies for invasion of privacy. The Law Reform Commission's proposals in 1999 for civil liability for invasion of privacy, if implemented, would have allowed Chung to take civil action over the intrusion, said John Bacon-Shone, head of the University of Hong Kong's social sciences research centre. Chung has filed a complaint with the police, but since the photographs were taken in Malaysia, there is little officials here can do. But even if the photos had been taken in Hong Kong, there is little that can be done under existing laws. 'Our most recent set of proposals included criminalisation of certain forms of surveillance,' said Dr Bacon-Shone, who headed the board's subcommittee on privacy. The government this month legislated on law enforcement authorities' use of covert surveillance but has yet to act on the commission's recommendations to criminalise invasive snooping by civilians and the media into private premises. Dr Bacon-Shone said the commission's proposal for a statutory press council would have also helped in this situation. 'Although Hong Kong has had a press council, it has had very little impact because many major magazines and newspapers have ignored it,' he said. 'As it stands, the media are themselves showing that they are not, frankly, responsible.' HKU assistant law professor Eric Cheung Tat-ming said Chung did have the common law remedy of 'breach of confidence' to rely on. '[Supermodel] Naomi Campbell took civil action against the press in England to obtain damages and an injunction for publication of a photograph of her at a drug rehabilitation programme and the case was decided by the House of Lords on the basis of breach of confidence,' Professor Cheung said. 'It refers to someone who receives information he knows or ought to know is ... private or confidential. It covers this situation where the photos were published without her consent.' He said a case on such a basis by Chung 'may set a precedent to help others invoke the provision'. Professor Cheung said more 'coherent laws' on the breach of privacy, such as those proposed by the Law Reform Commission, would help. He said if the photographs had been taken in Hong Kong with a hidden camera on private premises, common law trespass could be used to seek civil damages.