January 31, 2008

Photo scandal rocks HK entertainment industry

Variety Asia Online has just released the following press release:
HONG KONG (31 January 2008) – A series of obscene photographs that appeared online seemingly featuring various local celebrities has sent shock waves through the Hong Kong entertainment industry.

On Sunday, pictures of a young man and woman seemingly taken during sexual intercourse, appeared on a popular news discussion forum. Images bear close resemblance to Edison Chen, a Canadian-born Hong Kong singer and actor who has minor roles in Hollywood pics such as "The Grudge 2" and the upcoming "The Dark Knight," and Gillian Chung, one half of Hong Kong pop duo Twins.

The images were quickly removed from the site, but copies quickly circulated through email and were reposted to some 400 other Websites.

A day later more appeared. These seem to show Chen receiving oral sex from television actress Bobo Chan and others with Chen and Chung in different positions. Still others apparently showing award-winning movie actress Cecilia Cheung at Chen's apartment have slowly been released on various Internet forums in the following days.

Representatives of the stars in question insist the photos are doctored and are seeking legal advice. The Hong Kong Police say they are investigating two reported cases of publishing indecent materials on the Internet. Local papers reported that the Police are working with Interpol as well as Internet forum administrators and Internet service providers to provide information on users who have posted the photos.

Many in the Hong Kong biz have publicly denounced the pictures and their publication. The Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild calls the incident not only "tragic for the entertainment industry, but for all Hong Kong people. Such immoral behavior is poison to the minds of youth today."

The Guild is also calling for the government to take more action in curbing indecent and obscene behavior in the media. In 2006 naked photos of Chung taken in the changing room of a Kuala Lumpur concert venue appeared in a Hong Kong tabloid paper caused an uproar in the industry.

The photos of Chen and his 'conquests' have captured the attention of Hong Kong, with many people apparently trying to prove the authenticity of the photos. Although the more responsible newspapers are still describing the photos as 'doctored,' many experts and industry insiders believe the photos are unlikely to be fake.

The incident has political ramifications too. As Police have issued warnings that distribution of such photographs is likely to be in breach of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, which could carry a jail sentence and heavy fines, operators of Websites and Forums have moved quickly to delete pictures. But many sites have engaged in blatant self censorship and removed any discussion of the incident. That of course has got the free-speech brigade riled. "Nothing is allowed to be discussed, whatever happened to freedom of speech? When did Hong Kong become China?," one forum user asked.

Over the border in China distribution of the pics is spreading like wildfire, despite a recent SARFT initiative to crack down on Online obscenity. A file purportedly containing all the photos is reported to be being downloaded at the rate of 10,000 times a minute.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

Sex scandals spread like wildfire with the internet these days. Stupid for stars to allow photos to be taken.