The Privacy Commission wants more power to crack down on snoopers.
It is seeking to do so as the government revises the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
Allan Chiang Yam-wang, privacy commissioner for personal data, hopes a decision on extra powers may be made before the term of the current administration ends.
Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun- ying takes office on July 1.
"Once the privacy infringements are confirmed, we hope to have the authority to compensate victims and to fine infringers," Chiang said yesterday.
He said the commission should have the power to help victims file for civil actions.
"We have been fighting for this for the past two to three years, but we have not yet succeeded."
Under the existing ordinance, the body has no power of prosecution. It may only issue enforcement notices.
It is a criminal offense to ignore enforcement notices, with a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of HK$50,000.
The call for more power follows enforcement notices the commission sent to Sudden Weekly and Face Magazine - two publications of media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.
In one issue, actor-singer Bosco Wong Chung-chak was photographed walking naked in his home.
In another, actor Vincent Wong Ho- shun and his then-girlfriend - now wife - Yoyo Chen Chi-yiu were photographed during intimate moments.
It is the first time for the commission to rule that a media organization has infringed celebrity privacy.
Chiang said the enforcement orders require the media companies to "rectify the situation."
He said he could not accept the defense that taking such photos is in the public interest since the person in question had lied about not living with another artist. There are ways of finding out the facts other than intruding into another's privacy.