Innocence lost in 'racy' photos of six-year-old Hong Kong girl Celine Yeung

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 1:30am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 1:30am

Female models posing for revealing pictures is nothing new. A 50-year-old former beauty queen just made headlines around the world when her photo album was one of the best-sellers at the Hong Kong Book Fair. But if an album contains provocative photos of a six-year-old girl, there is every reason to be alarmed. Celebrity child Celine Yeung is popular, having won modelling and singing contests and starred in TV programmes and commercials. But she apparently became a victim of exploitation. Of particular concern are two pictures in her first photo album, one showing her pulling down a dress from her head while sitting on the floor, legs wide open and underwear exposed. The other showed her in underwear, burying her head in a pillow with her buttocks raised. The photographer is known for taking racy pictures of scantily clad young models. Unsurprisingly, the pictures aroused online discussion and drew comparisons with adult models in similar poses.

Celine's mother said she thought the album would simply bring some good memories and that she did not receive any money. She did not find anything untoward when accompanying her daughter during the photo shoot in South Korea. She later expressed "guilt and sadness" for not being cautious enough to prevent unacceptable images from being published. The photographer also said he was baffled by the outcry, saying the pictures did not show sex organs. He later apologised for causing distress to the family.

It has to be wondered who would buy a photo album of a six-year-old girl. Some argue that the pictures merely capture moments of childhood innocence. But what some see as innocence could evoke more sinister thoughts in others. Although the police have stepped in and found nothing unlawful, that does not mean the photos are morally sound. The government received some 130 complaints within days of the album going on sale. The strong reaction from the public and child protection groups makes it plain that society disapproves of such albums.