Hong Kong man guilty over celebrity sex pics

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 29, 2009 at 1:11 PM EDT

A Hong Kong computer technician was found guilty Wednesday of illegally distributing more than 1,000 photos of singer Edison Chen performing sex acts with a string of starlets, a report said.

The images were plastered across the Internet last year, causing a huge scandal, forcing Chen to flee to his childhood home of Canada and damaging the careers of several of the stars involved.

Sze Ho-chun, an employee of computer shop Elite Multimedia, was found guilty after a five-day trail on three counts of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for himself or another, broadcaster RTHK said.

Sze had copied 1,300 sex photos from Chen's laptop when the Canadian-born singer-actor brought it in for repairs in 2006.

The prosecution said that the 24-year-old saved 1,300 sex photos of Chen and other local celebrities on a compact disc which he then passed to another of his customers.

The images began spreading online in February last year and sparked one of the city's biggest sex scandals.

The photos, which Chen has admitted taking himself, showed him in compromising positions with celebrities including Canto-pop star Gillian Chung, actress Cecilia Cheung and former actress Bobo Chan.

The incident caused a storm in the celebrity-obsessed city and prompted Chen to leave for Canada and announce he was withdrawing from the entertainment business in Hong Kong.

The 28-year-old Chen had been one of Asia's biggest entertainment stars. He recorded 16 albums under the EEG (Emperor Entertainment Group) label, of which the latest is 2007's "Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself."

Before his retirement Chen had a cameo role in the 2008 Batman movie "The Dark Knight," and a voice-over in the Cantonese version of the animated children's movie "Shrek."

Both Cheung and Chung have gone public in recent months criticising him.

Chung, whose career as half of Canto-pop duo Twins has collapsed since the scandal, said she had contemplated suicide when the photos appeared.

Hong Kong triads, apparently angered by the scandal's damage to the city's entertainment industry, have allegedly offered a 110,000 US dollar reward for the star's right hand, according to local media reports.

Chen refused to return to Hong Kong to testify. Instead, in an unusual move, the court in Sze's trial convened in Canada to take Chen's evidence.

Magistrate Tong Man called Sze's crime "serious" and said a jail sentence was inevitable, according to RTHK.

Sze was remanded in custody and is expected to be sentenced on May 13.




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