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'Police to be more cautious in sex pics investigation'
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Assistant Commissioner of Police Wong Fook-chuen on Friday said that in future investigators would be more cautious in probing obscene and indecent photo cases.

Wong told the Legislative Council security panel meeting that police might seek opinion and classification from the Obscene Articles Tribunal if there are doubts over whether materials in question are obscene.

Wong also added that police would not make pre-classification before prosecution a mandatory procedure.

There was debate over the role of police in handling the recent celebrity sex photo scandal and legislators attending the security panel meeting expressed concern over the detention of Chung Yik-tin, who was charged with publishing an obscene photo of one of the celebrities.

The 29-year-old man was released after about two weeks following the Obscene Articles Tribunal's classification of the photo in question as indecent, and not obscene. Distributing indecent material carries a less serious punishment than obscene articles.

Wong, however, came in defence of the police saying that the officers had done nothing wrong in Chung's case.

"None of the officers handling the Chung case are doubtful of whether the picture is obscene," he said.

Wong told the legislators that police had seized 1.5 million pornographic video discs in Mong Kok last year. The Obscene Articles Tribunal will unnecessarily be burdened with work if all video discs are sent for classification, he added.

Legislators, however, demanded a mandatory pre-classification to avoid wrongful detention.

"What are the difficulties in having pre-classification? The police need to be very cautious after the Chung case," asked Civic Party legislator Audrey Eu.

Urging the police to revamp its procedure, Information Technology sector legislator Sin Chung-kai said: "Other people might face the same fate as Chung if nothing is done to improve the system."

The panel deputy chairman, James To also slammed the police for "smearing" Chung as it told the media that Chung was involved in a credit card deception case without pressing charges.

"While the Tuen Mun Magistracy was releasing Chung, Wong was talking about the deception case at a press conference. But no such charge has been pressed so far. Is it fair to Chung?" he questioned.

(China Daily HK Edition March 3, 2008)

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