The buzz from the region has been on Edison Chen's gift to fans around the world--a whopping collection of pictures and videos that would otherwise have never seen the light of day. Despite initial attempts to claim otherwise, it seems this is the real mccoy (the key word being "seems" because no one has admitted to this thus far) and not the work of some Photoshop protagonist.
In a recently released video, a "hurt, pained and perplexed" Chen apologized for this "strange strange ordeal". He also asked for people to destroy copies of the pictures.
However, the H.K. police had slightly different ideas--it seems that whilst the original offenders were arrested and awaiting prosecution, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vincent Wong Fook-chuen said sharing of the pictures by e-mail would not be an offence. People who had only transferred the obscene picture files to friends had not violated the law, but those who transferred them to the public--for example, via the Web for downloading--were breaking the law.
Wong said there were three clauses relating to the possession of obscene material that constitute a violation of the law, namely: publishing obscene material; possession for publishing; and inserting obscene material for publishing.
This puts into light the difficulty construing a "public" element offence effected through the Internet. For instance, would an e-mail sent out to millions of people be less public than posting the pictures on an obscure Web site with a single digit hit-rate? What if an e-mail is sent to a friend who opens in a public place like an Internet café or while his laptop is hooked up to a LCD projector?