Government appeal spurs prison sentence A lovelorn salesman who put nude photos and sex videos of his former girlfriend on the internet had his sentence increased from community service to a two-month jail term yesterday. Magistrate Albert Wong Sung-hau, who reviewed the sentence on Lee Wing-fung after an application by the government, said the public should not underestimate the criminality of illegal distribution of obscene material, and the court would not let offenders off lightly. He also urged the public to be aware of the damage that could be caused in the real world by their actions in the 'virtual world' of the internet. Lee, 29, was sentenced in September last year to 240 hours of community service after pleading guilty to one charge of criminal intimidation, one of publishing an indecent article, and one of publishing an obscene article. He has already served 167 hours of the sentence. Yesterday's ruling, which came amid fallout from the celebrity sex-pictures scandal surrounding singer-actor Edison Chen Koon-hei and female celebrities, attracted extensive media coverage, although the appeal was lodged in September, long before the scandal broke. Sitting in the District Court, Mr Wong said that if Lee had not pleaded guilty to the charges, 12 months' jail would have been warranted just on the charge of publishing an obscene article. Making the application for a sentence review, government senior counsel David Leung Cheuk-yin asked Mr Wong to consider two aggravating features of the case to reassess the intent behind Lee's act and the harm done to the victim. Mr Leung produced a message Lee had left on the internet in reply to another user in which he described himself as 'a fool who must take revenge', arguing that it showed the distribution was a vengeful rather than an impulsive act. Mr Leung also pointed out that Lee had attached the name, office address and other personal particulars of the victim, which he argued had caused her severe harm. Yesterday, Mr Wong said he accepted that Lee's actions had been malicious. 'The internet is a virtual world where many people will easily loosen their morals and lose the balance between their personal rights and obligations, and even become neglectful about the consequences of their acts,' he said. 'People can do many things which they wouldn't do in real life because everything can be so easily achieved by just pressing a button on the keyboard. And usually the person affected is not in sight.' But he said harm done through the internet could be very long-lasting and severe, beyond what users might imagine, and bring very serious legal consequences. The Department of Justice said the materials involved in Lee's case had been submitted to the Obscene Articles Tribunal in the initial stages but a determination was not required if a defendant pleaded guilty.