The computer technician who copied sexually explicit photos from actor- singer Edison Chen Koon-hei's laptop was yesterday sentenced to eight months and 15 days in jail but the person who posted them on the internet remains at large.
Sze Ho-chun, 24, a computer technician at Elite Multimedia where Chen had taken his computer for repairs in 2006, was earlier convicted on three counts of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for himself or another.
Hundreds of photos of Chen having sex with female artists such as Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi and Bobo Chan Man-woo were released on the internet in early 2008 by an unidentified person who netizens nicknamed the "Killer" - after a popular Japanese manga The Death Note.
In sentencing, Chief Magistrate Tong Man of the Kowloon City Magistrates' Court said Sze breached the trust between an employee and employer and though he did not gain monetarily, an immediate custodial sentence was inevitable. "Though there is no evidence that you uploaded the pictures to the public domain, you violated the privacy of those affected, and put them in an extremely dangerous situation," Tong said.
In dismissing Sze's mitigation that he has been sad, uncomfortable and hounded by the media since his arrest, Tong said: "Have you ever thought about the pressure inflicted on those whose privacy you violated and how uncomfortable and unpleasant they felt?"
Sze copied 1,300 photos from Chen's laptop depicting the star engaged in sexual acts with several female celebrities, which Chen admitted he took for his own viewing.
Evidence at the trial suggested Sze unlocked the images from encrypted files, copied them and then showed them to two female friends and customers, giving a copy to one of them.
The photos started appearing on the internet about a year later.
The operator of the computer shop who knew about the images told the court he was shocked when told in mid-2007 that some of them had surfaced.
Sze's barrister Kevin Tang said he will appeal against the conviction and apply to the High Court to get Sze released on bail after Tong refused the application.
In seeking clemency, Tang said his client who was just 21 at the time, was inexperienced and did not realize the consequences of his actions when he committed the offenses.
It was Sze's first job after obtaining a higher diploma in computer studies.
A senior police official declined comment on whether the hunt for the "Killer" will continue.