Net users protest at police action

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 February, 2008, 12:00am

Web surfers rally over handling of nude photos case

About 300 internet users marched to police headquarters in Wan Chai yesterday to protest against the force's handling of the case of nude photos purported to be of local celebrities.

They urged the police to apologise and immediately release Chung Yik-tin, who was denied bail on January 31 and has since then been held at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.

He was the first person arrested in the case and was charged for distributing one photo and possessing 12 obscene photos.

The city's newly appointed Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon yesterday also asked people not to circulate any indecent pictures via the Net.

Asked to comment on the saga, the bishop said: 'It is also biblical teaching that we should speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil. It is important that we should keep our mind decent and, perhaps needless to say, we should not post or circulate the pictures.'

One of the organisers of yesterday's '2.10 Internet Users March', Michael Tsui Kit-sang, criticised the police's handling of the case as a violation of human rights.

'The Obscene Articles Tribunal did not rule that the images are obscene but Mr Chung has been detained for eight weeks. It is too harsh for him and obviously the police have abused their power,' Mr Tsui said.

The organisers also complained of police double standards in dealing with the case because it involved local celebrities.

'There are lots of obscene images on the internet but the police do nothing about them. As soon as there are images involving actors and actresses the police monitor the internet around the clock.'

The police estimated there were 250 protesters.

Police arrested Chung last month saying it found him in possession of 12 obscene images of celebrities, including singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei and Gillian Chung Yan-tung, a member of the Twins girl duo.

Chung Yik-tin's case has been adjourned to March 28. He was among eight arrested and the only one refused bail.

Mr Tsui said the number of protesters marching from Victoria Park to Wan Chai exceeded expectations of more than 150.

One of the protesters, Elaine Li, said: 'The images are no big deal, but the police arrested people because of this small incident. Mr Chung is tried on the next day after he is arrested just because he has 12 images. It is obviously too severe a punishment.'

Ms Li said she did not feel sympathy towards the women in the images as 'they are grown-ups. They should be responsible for what they do'.

Another protester, Agnes Chan, said any punishment for uploading the images was not reasonable.

She said she had downloaded the nude images and sent them to her friends when asked.

The secretary general of the Society for Truth and Light, Choi Chi-sum, said some protesters had ignored the feelings of victims in the images. 'They are just concerned about their freedom,' Mr Choi said.

Meanwhile, Gillian Chung will meet her fans today and is expected to respond to the saga.