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Mags in the clear over nude pics -

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Obscene Articles Tribunal has classified the publication of sexually explicit photos of Hong Kong celebrities in Next Magazine and Oriental Sunday as Class I articles, or neither obscene nor indecent on an interim basis.

The decision surprised the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, which is demanding that the tribunal review its decision at a full public hearing.

The case involved supplement issue No936 of Next Magazine, and the front cover and some inside pages of issue 531 of Oriental Sunday.

TELA's appeal for a review is based on guidelines for the tribunal in classifying articles under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, and the tribunal's past rulings on articles of a similar nature. Under the ordinance, the review will be held in public.

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TELA said given the extensive public concern over the recent incidents, a full hearing will enable the public to have a clearer understanding of the tribunal's classification standards.

Meanwhile, mainland police have arrested 10 people for producing, selling and buying explicit photos of Hong Kong celebrities as the fallout from the scandal rumbled on.

Police in Shenzhen have confiscated around 250 discs and six computers with images of actor- singer Edison Chen Koon-hei and a string of starlets in compromising positions.

Three suspects were held for five days, and two others were being held and questioned, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The police will crack down severely on the criminal activities of manufacturing, selling and dissemination of discs of Hong Kong's celebrity photos as well as other pornographic productions," a spokesman said in Shenzhen.

The photos of Chen and at least seven stars - including Cantopop singer Gillian Chung Yan- tung, actress Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and former actress Bobo Chan Man-woon - began appearing last month on the internet.

Chen had been romantically linked to all three in the past. The photos were reportedly copied from Chen's computer when he sent it for repairs.

Last week, Chen issued a statement apologizing to "anyone who has been affected by this strange, strange ordeal."

Police in Hong Kong have made several arrests linked to the case, but have faced criticism that they have been overzealous. A charge against one man detained over the photos was dropped last week.

Mainland censors ordered the nation's most popular internet search engine, Baidu, to apologize for allowing the photos to be published on its site.

More than 40 domestic websites have supported a joint statement by 13 mainland portals to prevent the spread of the photos. STAFF REPORTER


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