Google is being sued for defamation by a business tycoon in Hong Kong, according to reports.
Albert Yeung Sau-shing is chairman of the Emperor Group, a business empire in Hong Kong. The 69-year-old is apparently taking the Internet giant to the region's High Court in a defamation case after searching his name through Google's search service left an unpleasant taste in his mouth.
Google's search algorithms have resulted in listings that may be considered detrimental to his name and reputation. Whether Yeung's name is input into Google Search in English or Chinese, a drop-down option for the search term plus 'triad' appears -- a connotation which is unlikely to make the tycoon happy.
Yeung is apparently asking for the court to issue an injunction against Google, forcing the Internet giant to block any defamatory results and also issue him financial compensation -- the amount of which has not been disclosed.
The business tycoon is likely to be particularly sensitive to anything which chips away at his reputation, as he was convicted and served prison time in the early 80's for "perverting the course of justice". The Emperor Group chairman was also forced to pay HK$20m (USD$2.58 million) after being found guilty of "insider trading" and "illegal bookmaking" in the late 90's.
Local lawyer Leung Wing Kin told Sina that in general, "mechanical issues" that display the "defamatory" phrases are not usually admissible for such cases. However, if the website operators knowingly ignore such complaints and allow defamatory complains to continue, then they could potentially be liable.
This is not the first website that Yeung has pursued through the courts. In a legal ongoing process that began in 2011, Golden Forum, The Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Uncyclopedia are among websites that the tycoon insists must reveal the identity of writers and stop distributing articles which allegedly contain damaging material about him.
However, Google isn't the only Internet giant in the firing line. A managing director at HSBC, Sandeep Sharma, has recently sued Yahoo Singapore in order to obtain the identity of a user who allegedly impersonated him and made offensive remarks about Singaporeans on the firm's website.