The former editor of East Week, which published a semi-nude photo of Carina Lau Ka-ling in 2002, was sentenced yesterday to six months' jail, suspended for two years. The Eastern Court had intended to give Mong Hon-ming, 52, a sentence of nine months, but reduced it to six because he admitted two weeks ago publishing an obscene article. A guilty plea generally helps to cut a sentence by a third. Principal magistrate Garry Tallentire said in handing down the sentence that although Hong Kong had freedom of speech, the media must exercise self-discipline. The former editor, who now works in Beijing, said as he left the court yesterday that he was satisfied with the sentence. 'At the time, as the chief editor I felt I had to bear responsibility [for what happened]. The judge has given me a lighter sentence and I feel he has given me a chance to turn over a new leaf,' he said. Mong said the case, which had lasted several years, had affected him greatly. 'In my work and in my life, it has created a lot of disturbance for me.' East Week published the photo of the actress on its cover on October 30, 2002, raising an outcry. The photo was taken while Lau was in captivity after being kidnapped, allegedly by triads to punish her for refusing to take part in a film they were funding. The magazine ceased publication three days after the photo appeared and issued apologies in five newspapers. Other magazines reprinted the photo. Mong was not involved in the decision to publish the photo and was away from Hong Kong at the time. In mitigation letters submitted in court, his current employer and a Legislative Council member said Mong was a responsible person.