A mass-circulation Chinese- language daily is seeking HK$100,000 to HK$200,000 from a former reporter who leaked a photograph to other media, a court heard yesterday. The Oriental Daily News fired Kou Ion-tim after the picture of food-poisoning victims, taken by Mr Kou, appeared in several other newspapers, the District Court was told. The claim was lodged after Mr Justice David Yam Yee-kwan found that Mr Kou was the source of the leak on March 15, 2005, and granted the Oriental Daily a court order to restrain him from further distributing the photograph. The judge also made an order requiring Mr Kou to hand over any infringing copies of the photographs and any relevant materials. Barrister Lawrence Hui Cheuk-lun told Mr Justice Yam the newspaper intended to seek HK$100,000 to HK$200,000 from Mr Kou for the unauthorised leak. But the judge adjourned the case for further inquiries on the amount of damages, saying that a High Court master would work on the assessment later. Mr Justice Yam noted the newspaper had already settled claims of copyright infringement with other media, including HK$12,000 from Sing Tao Daily, HK$52,000 from Sing Pao, HK$12,000 from East Week Magazine and HK$30,001 from Apple Daily. The court heard that these publications had admitted they published the photograph but had 'innocently believed' they were authorised to use it. Mr Kou was sued by OPG Human Resources over the unauthorised distribution of the photograph, which was taken outside the emergency unit of United Christian Hospital, of a family arriving by ambulance, after eating suspected poisoned scallops. Forensic expert Edmond Chan told the court yesterday that his investigations showed the photograph used by the other media was the one taken by Mr Kou. Former reporter Siu Chik-shing, now a postman, told the court he had collected a memory card containing the photograph from Mr Kou at the hospital that evening. He said he did not have a chance to read or copy the files and had not passed the card to anyone before delivering it to the office. In his judgment, Mr Justice Yam said that none of the staff who handled the card, apart from Mr Kou, had had the opportunity to distribute it outside because their computers lacked the necessary connection. He said it was a pity that the litigation had cost a lot of resources and manpower because it was a very simple case.