HONG KONG – Police in Hong Kong have arrested nine people in connection with the Internet dissemination of sexually explicit photos that appear to show some of Asia's most popular singers. The arrests have sparked a debate over free speech and whether police are selectively enforcing anti-pornography laws.
Local blogger Lam Oiwan told the International Herald Tribune, "On the Internet there are a lot of nude pictures and sexy photos, but the police don't bring charges." In the current case, three of the nine people arrested have already been charged.
At the center of the controversy is Hong Kong singer Edison Chen who is depicted in separate photos with at least six women, four of whom are also popular singers. Chen released a video apology last week "to anyone who has been affected" and requested the public to delete the photos from their files.
Also named in the controversy is Hong Kong singer Gillian Chung, who is part of a duo called the Twins. Chung is also featured in ads for Hong Kong Disneyland. At a press conference on Monday, Chung neither confirmed nor denied that she was in the explicit photos, but said she regretted upsetting her family and fans.
Hong Kong police say the photos came to be circulated after Chen took his computer to a repair shop where the device's memory was copied. A former store employee has been arrested in connection with the case.
The issue of the explicit Internet photos is particularly controversial with many in Hong Kong, because it coincides with what many see as a toughening of law enforcement policies as preparations begin for six Olympic equestrian events that will be held in Hong Kong in August.