Edison Chen Sex Scandal Update

Edison Chen Sex ScandalWe Know that Edison Chen already quits in the entertainment industry after all this media frenzy, but this is the full story.
The Edison Chen photo scandal is a media scandal in early 2008 involving Hong Kong actor Edison Chen Kwoon-hei and various actresses, including Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Bobo Chan Man-woon, and Cecilia Cheung Pak-zhi.

Beginning in late January 2008, racy photographs depicting Chen and the aforementioned actresses engaged in sexual acts were circulated on the Internet. As of 12 February 2008, nine people were arrested in connection with the distribution of the photographs. The scandal made front page of local newspapers for several weeks, and has made international news.

Despite enlisting the assistance of Interpol, the Hong Kong police have not been able to stem the spread of the photographs. Their crackdown has instead caused concern among over violations of the privacy and free speech rights of Internet users. The manner in which actors, their management, and the police have handled the situation has, in turn, made those arrested into heroes and martyrs for some netizens.

On 21 February, Chen hosted a press conference in Hong Kong in which he admitted being the author of most of the photographs. However, he also claimed that the photographs were distributed illegally and without his consent. In order to protect the victims of the scandal, Chen would take legal action to stop further proliferation of the photos. He publicly apologised to the actresses involved, and also announced that he would "step away indefinitely" from the Hong Kong entertainment industry


In November 2006, Chen allegedly purchased a pink PowerBook from eLite Multimedia, a computer shop in Hong Kong's Central district. According to the police, Chen's "Cotton-candy Mac" computer was sent in for repairs, and an estimated 1,300 intimate photographs of Chen and numerous female celebrities may have been accessed and copied by one or more of the shop's employees without consent.Chen's photographs were reportedly taken some time between 2003 and 2005.

One close friend of Chen indicated that he liked to take photographs during intimate moments with his sexual partners, of which 14 were celebrities, and privately showed these to a select group of close friends.


The first nude photograph, depicting a sex act between Chen and a female (presumably Gillian Chung), was posted on the Web site Hong Kong Discuss Forum at approximately 8:30 p.m. on 27 January 2008. Although the original post was deleted after a few hours, some visitors forwarded the photo to other major forums in Hong Kong such as Uwants and HKGolden. Chung's management agency, Emperor Entertainment Group (EEG), immediately denied that the photographs were authentic and filed a police report.

At 3 p.m. the day following EEG's statement, a second explicit photograph of Chen (with presumably Bobo Chan.) appeared on the Internet. An emergency meeting was held at EEG immediately that evening after which the company declared through its solicitors that it would pursue the publisher of the image for this "irresponsible" and "malicious act." Gillian Chung was reportedly very distraught, had taken a leave of absence, and would not comment on the matter. Shaped by the denials, the initial media consensus was that the photographs had been manipulated. The story became the headline of major local Hong Kong newspapers.

At 12:30 p.m. on 29 January, a third photograph appeared on the Internet. The photograph was of a much higher resolution than the previous shots. The photographs became the talk of the town, and journals noted the uncanny resemblance to Cecilia Cheung by comparing physical features and the distinctive tattoos of the starlet. Local discussion forums became saturated as a result. A low-resolution sequence (photos 4 to 7) of Chen with a female (possibly Chung) wearing a bikini at the start of the sequence appeared at 3 p.m.; a photograph, allegedly of Cecilia Cheung standing in a bathroom with her back facing the camera appeared at 6 p.m. Journals compared the backgrounds of the photographs to previously released videos filmed inside Chen's residence.The police, and photographic experts who examined the images involving the first three female celebrities, said the photos were unlikely to have been composites.

On 6 February, a forum user, dubbed by the public as "Kira" with reference to the protagonist in the manga Death Note stated he was not in Hong Kong and leaked more photos in defiance of the police. "Kira" promised to release a 32-minute video of Chen and Chung the next day.

Edison's current girlfriend, 18 year old Vincy Yeung (楊永晴), is the niece of the Chairman of Emperor Entertainment Group, Albert Yeung. On 8 February, three pictures of her showering appeared on the Internet. The police confirmed these three images were part of the set of 1,300 photographs. Having said there were only six victims, the police explained the appearance of a seventh, saying that her photographs had been erroneously grouped with one of the other females.

On 14 February, after a lull of five days, two new photographs surfaced. One photograph featured an unidentified woman with Edison, and another showed Rachel Ngan, lying on a bed.

Photos were also posted on the popular mainland China chat room, Tianya.com, and have been viewed nearly 20 million times a day.

Police actions

Hong Kong

China News Service (CNS) reported that more than 100 police officers had been sent to investigate the case, although Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vincent Wong Fook-chuen later declared that a team of 19 officers from the Commercial Crime Bureau was working the case.The Hong Kong police moved on all Internet service providers to stamp out all local traces of the "offensive material" (which had not yet even been classified). The police held a meeting with more than 200 people responsible for major Hong Kong Web sites and BBS communities to urge them to delete the pictures on appearance "as they have the responsibility to stop crimes". Related discussion threads were progressively deleted

CNS reported the Hong Kong media as saying that police ordered several locally registered Web sites and BBS management firms to submit information about their clients, and had retrieved the IP addresses of more than 30 Internet users who allegedly posted photographs.

On 31 January 2008, an unemployed 29 year-old man who had allegedly uploaded one image was arrested. Twelve pictures were found on his computer. The next day he was arraigned, and the judge denied bail on grounds that he had reasons to suspect that the man would use the pictures to blackmail the actor and actresses. The case would reconvene in eight weeks. After investigating the connection between the suspect and artists, the police were satisfied that blackmail was not involved.

On 2 February, police arrested four men and two women in connection with the distribution of the photographs. Of the six, three men and a woman were released on HK$20,000 bail and must report back to the police in eight weeks. The police revealed that during 2007, Edison Chen brought his computer to a shop for repairs. Employees of the shop discovered over 1,300 nude photos or those depicting sex acts, and were suspected of secretly copying these files.

On 4 February, a 29-year-old man became the eighth person to be detained in connection with the Internet posting of nude photos. On the same day, the 23-year-old man, Sze Ho-Chun (史可隽), arrested in Central on 2 February was charged with the "dishonest use of computers with criminal intent", which has a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment. The man appeared in Eastern Court on 5 February, where he denied the charge and was released on HK$50,000 bail. The case has been adjourned to 22 February.

Assistant Commissioner Vincent Wong said the source of the pictures had been traced, but he would not confirm reports they had been taken from Chen's computer. He added that the authenticity of the photographs was no longer a line of inquiry. Wong also said of the six women found in the photographs, four were local celebrities; two were not known to the police. None of the women were named. Wong said he was certain that no overseas artists were involved. Ignoring copyright laws, he said that people who had only transferred the obscene picture files to friends had not violated the law, but those who had posted them to Internet Web pages would be in breach of the Hong Kong law. His statement has prompted people to email the picture files to their 'friends' en masse.

On 5 February, as another one of the suspects was released on HK$50,000 bail, six more photographs of people resembling the actresses surfaced on the Internet.In the early hours on Chinese New Year's eve, several hundred more photographs with two new faces appeared on the Internet, as promised, in effect cocking a snoot at the Hong Kong Police.

The police arrested a tenth person in connection with the case on 10 February. Named as Kwok Chun-wai, a 24 year-old logistics clerk, he was charged with distribution of pornography. He had allegedly posted the link to a local discussion forum after uploading a compressed file containing over a hundred images to a site in Cyprus. Kwok was not required to enter a plea, was released on HK$10,000 bail and is required to report to the police three times a week.

Mainland China

Web sites on the mainland are usually more sensitive to political issues than to pornography, and for several weeks major sites such as Baidu permitted the images to be disseminated, attracting Hong Kong users. Around 20 February however, mainland sites took action to prevent access to the photos.

A crackdown began in mainland China on the criminal activities of manufacturing, selling and spreading the CDs of the celebrity photos, which have been "selling like hotcakes". Police have arrested 10 people suspected of the production in Shenzhen.

On 21 February, police in Beijing announced it would act to stop the circulation of the photographs. Officials declared that showing the photos to friends or posting them on blogs or online forums, even without profit motive, could be punishable by detention for up to 15 days; transmission of more than 200 of the photos as a package on the internet would be met with criminal prosecution.


A Taiwanese man aged 24, Huang Wei-lun, was arrested in Taipei county on suspicion of posting the explicit photos and videos in his blog and instructing net surfers how to download the images.

Taiwanese actor (陳漢典) have also been seen parodying Chen's early apology statement on the Taiwan variety show (全民最大黨) on the nationally broadcasted CTiTV. The sketch shows the actor apologizing with an exaggerated calm, low voice similar to Chen. Despite praise from users, associates of Chen are said to be offended by the sketch.
Legal issues

Copyright, which could be a central issue, has been slighted. On 2 February, Commissioner of Police Tang King Shing warned that anyone with the pictures on their computer 'could be' in breach of the law, even if there was no record of distribution. The Commissioner's remarks led to lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok Hung's immediate objection. Leung, together with about two dozen people protested outside police headquarters in Wan Chai, accusing the police of sowing confusion and creating an atmosphere of "white terror" among netizens. Leung urged Commissioner Tang to clarify whether merely keeping the pictures violated the law.

The police's selectiveness in this case, as compared with previous cases of pornography distribution on the Internet has also been the focus of attention. Regina Ip said that police would commonly apply the law selectively, citing the difficulty of taking action against every person who had overstayed in Hong Kong. Similarly local Chairman of the Internet Society said that it would not be practical for the police to ticket every traffic offender.

The denial of bail for Chung Yik-tin sparked controversy over the subjective application of the law. South China Morning Post (SCMP) columnist Tim Hamlett said the presumption of innocence was an issue.Commentary in Ming Pao also remarked on the widespread outrage about the perceived selective application of legal principles - that a person charged with an apparently minor offense being denied bail whilst two others, unnamed, with allegedly heavier involvement in the spread of the photographs were allowed out on bail. A commentary in Apple Daily decried the "clear intimidation of netizens" by the police, and referred to the "hypocrisy in law enforcement" for arresting people without bringing the alleged main source and victim (Edison) for interrogation.

While publishing an Obscene (淫褻) article carries a maximum sentence of 3 years, an Indecent (不雅) article only carries a maximum sentence of 12 months.Ming Pao revealed on 14 February that it had received interim classification from the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT) relating to five photographs it had submitted for opinion. Three of these photographs were classified as "indecent" while two were considered "obscene". The only photograph which was in circulation on 27 January, allegedly posted by Chung Yik-tin, belonged to the "indecent" category. Thus, the journal raised the question that Chung may have been charged with a wrong offense. Also, the law applies only after OAT's classification. Since the police arrested and charged Chung prior to classification, some viewed the arrest as unlawful while some see his release, despite the fact he did upload at least stolen photo of the nude celebrities, as too lenient. Legislator Ronny Tong accused the police of humiliating a suspect by their excessively hasty actions. An Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong questioned whether an amended charge of "Publishing an Indecent Article" applied to photographs uploaded onto the Internet. At 3:30 p.m. on 15 February, Chung was unconditionally released from detention when charges against him were dropped.

The Police were widely condemned for their handling of the case. In addition, in a survey published by the SCMP, some 48% of people surveyed believed the Police had created unnecessary fear among the Internet community, and a similar percentage were dissatisfied with the police handling of the case. However, Assistant Commissioner Wong insisted that they had "not departed from normal practices" and had "acted correctly under the laws".

Responses and apologies

After the exposure of the eighth photograph, Chen quietly left Hong Kong and flew to Boston to be with his girlfriend Vincy Yeung. Chen remained silent to the public. Until 1 February 2008, Chen's blog had been updated with new posts about his featured action movie Sniper.

On 4 February 2008, Chen sent a 90-second video clip, spoken entirely in English, to the press. In the video clip, Chen apologised to those who may have been affected by the posting of compromising nude photographs. He did not comment on the authenticity of the photos.

As of this evening, the police have made significant advances towards solving this malicious crime. As from the beginning I will continue to give the police my fullest cooperation to bring the perpetrators to justice. At this time I am not able to discuss matters related to the case, but I do feel it is my obligation to accept full responsibility and take action to help both the victims and those associated with them to heal their wounds. In this regard, I plead with everyone to please stop forwarding the images on the Internet. Furthermore, to completely rid the images from your computer. This is a small step that each one of us can take to help the innocent rebuild their lives. The priority now is for all of us to pitch in and help those in need.

– Edison Chen, as posted to his blog

Gillian Chung was the first starlet to make a public appearance when she greeted fans at a New Year celebration on February 11, 2008. After the meeting, she delivered a brief statement to the press in which she did not expressly state whether she was the subject of some of the photographs. Chung apologised for the hurt caused to those around her by her silliness and naivety, saying that she "had now grown up". She promised to "work hard and act positively" in future. Emperor sought closure by stating that neither it nor any of its artists would be making any further statement about the incident. The press conference drew mixed response from the media and the public - some praised her courage in facing the public while others complained of her insincerity and her refusal to face the issue squarely. An Apple Daily commentary was particularly scathing about the hypocrisy of Chung and of her management company for only obliquely hinting at her "licentiousness".

On 21 February, Edison held a press conference during which he asked for forgiveness and announced his retirement from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. He sincerely regretted harm he caused to the women involved and their and his families.

...I would like to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong. I give my apologies sincerely to you all, unreservedly and with my heart... I know many young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in society, and in this regard I failed as a role model.

– Edison Chen, press conference, 21 February 2008

Chen confirmed that the photographs were indeed his, and that they were private; the photographs made public were obtained without his consent. He stated that he had been cooperating with police to solve the case since the first day, and would continue to do so. Through his lawyer, Chen asserted the photographs were protected by his property rights, and that reproduction whether in whole or in part without his consent would constitute copyright infringement.


On February 3, approximately 20 people, led by Leung Kwok-hung, protested the abuse of power by the police.

A week later, on February 10, several hundred people attended a protest march alleging "discriminatory" law enforcement against Internet users. Since this scandal involved local celebrities, protesters complained that the recent wave of arrests has been indicative of a legal double standard.They claimed that the police failed to investigate other cases of nude photos being released without their subject's permission.

Police initially anticipated about only 150 people to show up.Ultimately, approximately 300 Internet users marched from Victoria Park to police headquarters in Wan Chai. They petitioned the police to apologize publicly, release Chung Yik-tin (鍾亦天) —the 29-year-old detained without bail for eight weeks—and stop what protesters called an abuse of power. They also demanded the resignation of Commissioner Tang King-shing.

In the wake of the scandal, citizens also became more concerned about the integrity of the law, resulting in increased resentment towards the Hong Kong Police. In December 2007, Chief Inspector Cindy Kong was hit from behind by a truck,[67] but was unusually allowed to drink water prior to being breathalysed. One month later, businessman Peter Lam was acquitted of a speeding offense due to legal technicalities. Citizens cited these examples to show that, in Hong Kong, some were clearly more equal than others.

International media attention

The news of the scandal has received international media attention, notably on CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times,The Economist, MSNBC, The BBC,The Guardian, Le Figaro and Le Monde.

For Chen

On 5 February 2008, Chen was pulled from the upcoming Stephen Fung movie Jump as a result of the scandal. On 10 February 2008, it was reported that credit card company Manhattan Titanium has withdrawn all advertisements featuring Chen. He announced his retirement from the entertainment field, and would dedicate his energy to charitable work.

Many police officers protected Chen throughout the press conference, and some citizens complained about the waste of manpower. The police replied that, according to their risk assessment, their strong presence was essential to maintain public order due to the great public and media interest in the case.

The triads reportedly offered a HK$500,000 reward to anybody who hacked off Edison Chen's hand. This contributed to fears for Edison's safety upon his return, and heavy police protection.

For Chung

Whilst Emperor declared that Gillian Chung was on sick leave, her fellow "Twin" Charlene Choi twice publicly denied rumours of suicide attempts by Chung -once was during the promotion of the film Kung Fu Dunk. According to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, their music video for the celebration of the Chinese New Year would have featured Twins, but has since been dropped because of Chung's involvement in the controversy. A new video featuring other artists was selected as a replacement. Preparations for the Twins concerts in Hong Kong originally scheduled for 12-16 April were seriously affected, and the shows would be postponed until September.

Chung's appearance at a charity programme on 17 February met with around 2,100 complaints to the Broadcasting Authority, 373 to TVB, and 202 to the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA). On 21 February the Broadcasting Authority decided that the complaints were outside its jurisdiction to consider, and passed all the correspondence received to TVB.

For the Press

The blanket coverage of the local press, their reporting style, and the appearance of photographs has also been met with complaints from members of the public to TELA. TELA suspects at least two journals of violating the Obscene Articles Ordinance, and sent copies of issue 936 of Next Magazine and issue 531 of the Oriental Sunday magazine to the OAT for classification. The Tribunal returned an interim classification of "Class I", meaning the magazines were "neither obscene nor indecent", and TELA demanded a full public hearing to review its decision. The OAT, the method of selecting its adjudicators, and the Obscene Articles Ordinance, are under fire. It reportedly classified Michelangelo's "David" as indecent by adhering rigidly to a definition.

For the public in Hong Kong

The scandal has shocked the general public and ignited debate about sexual morality. When legislator Timothy Fok asked Chief Executive Donald Tsang whether the scandal affected Hong Kong's reputation as a regional hub, Tsang replied that it was "a serious issue which demanded [...] further follow-up"

For Baidu

The images reached China mostly through an image-sharing service on Baidu (Tieba).Beijing Network News Council (BNCC) held a meeting on February 18 to discuss the "romantic pictures", and criticised Baidu for spreading the pictures.

Other Web sites that actively discouraged the photo distribution, namely Sohu, Sina and Netease, were praised by BNCC.

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