Should anyone be curious as to why scores of people have been hanging around the bottom of escalators recently to see whether it was possible to get a clear view up women's skirts, don't worry: it was all done in the name of research. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong yesterday released the findings of its summer project, identifying seven sites, six of them shopping malls, as black spots that put women at risk of unwittingly exposing themselves to peeping Toms. The findings, by the city's largest political party, drew a full house of reporters to its press conference. The shopping malls are: Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong, the IFC Mall in Central, New Town Plaza and Citylink Plaza in Sha Tin, and Langham Place and Grand Century Place in Mong Kok. The seventh site was the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The search, by the party's women's committee, identified architectural features such as escalators with glass walls, reflective floors and railings with glass walls as the black spots. Elizabeth Quat, chairwoman of the party's women's committee, said feedback was obtained from the party's staff and district councillors in 18 branches. Next, party staff members went on location to confirm the risk and take 'wide-angle' pictures of the black spots. Ms Quat was unable to say how many members had taken part. Most were women, and one male member declined to help as he was worried he would be seen as a peeping Tom. Ms Quat, a Sha Tin district councillor, said the search was held in response to the rising number of crimes involving the taking of indecent photos with mobile phones. According to police figures, 228 such cases were reported and 196 people arrested last year, compared with 154 cases and 140 arrests in 2007. Ms Quat was not worried the party would be turning the black spots into hot spots for peeping Toms by publicising their location. 'Those places have existed for a while; those who want to peep would have discovered them already.'