The computer technician convicted of stealing sexually explicit photos of Canto pop star Edison Chen Koon-hei was sentenced to eight and a half months in jail yesterday. His defence counsel declared he would file an appeal.
The Kowloon City Magistrate Court found Dicky Sze Ho-chun, 24, guilty of dishonestly obtaining access to the intimate photos of Chen engaged in sex acts with female celebrities, including Gillian Chung, Cecilia Cheung and Bobo Chan.
He was accused of stealing the pictures while Chen's computer was being repaired at Elite Multimedia Limited, where Sze was an employee.
Sze showed the photos to two female staff at a household store and burnt a compact disc containing 1,300 sex images for one of them. Sze was found guilty on all three counts.
Pleading for leniency before Chief Magistrate Tong Man, defence counsel Kevin Tang said Sze was only 21 when he committed the crime and was ignorant of the law.
"The defendant had no malicious intention in showing the nude images to others. He was an innocent boy willing to share his experience with people who asked him to do so. He regrets what he did," Tang said, adding Sze accepts responsibility for the incident.
Sze and his family came under tremendous pressure after he was arrested in early 2008, Tang continued.
To avoid public disdain and being hounded by media, Sze hid himself at home for a year. Sze's parents and sister described the ordeal as "life in jail".Baikal Lake
Sze also worried about the safety of his family. Tang said Sze felt remorse and guilt over bringing difficulties to his family.
However, Magistrate Tong ruled out suspending the sentence owing to the seriousness of the crime.
"Though the defendant realized no monetary gain, he gravely invaded the privacy of others and breached the trust of his employer," he said.
Although there was no evidence to prove Sze was responsible for touching off the high-profile scandal by distributing the photos on the Internet, he did expose private information of others in an extremely dangerous situation, he added. The magistrate refused to grant bail pending appeal and ordered that Sze be jailed immediately.
Chief Inspector of Police Kenny Wong Tak-cheung said the judgment served as a warning to the public that it is a serious offense to use a computer dishonestly.
"Hong Kong Police is determined and capable of combating technological crimes," he added, reminding Internet users to be cautious about their behavior.