Cantopop duo Twins member Gillian Chung Yan-tung, in her first public response to the recent publication of nude pictures purportedly of pop and movie stars, yesterday admitted she had been "naive and silly" in the past.
"I admit [after a long pause] I was very naive and very silly in the past, but I have grown up now," Chung, 27, told a packed and frenzied crowd of international and local reporters, photographers and cameramen - without explicitly saying she was in the photos.
"This incident has caused great frustration and harm to me and people around me," she stated in her one- minute, 20-second speech.
"I thank my company, family and friends for their kindness and support. I deeply regret the impact the incident has caused to society and the public.
"In the future, I will continue my work and face my life positively. I thank the media for their concern and the fans for not giving up on me."
Chung, accompanied by long-time Twins partner Charlene Choi Cheuk- yin, was given a rousing cheer by hundreds of fans shouting "we support you."
Chung, who was dressed in a beige coat with her shoulder-length hair neatly parted down the center, was accompanied by about 10 other pop singers, including Vincy Chan Wing- yee and Yumiko Cheng Hei-yi, at the entertainment company Emperor Entertainment Group's annual Lunar New Year greeting session with fans and which was previously not open to the public.
The pop duo's manager Mani Fok Man-hei said none of EEG's artistes, including Chung, will ever make any comment regarding the incident following yesterday's briefing "to avoid the issue continuing to expand."
"This incident has already caused enormous harm and frustration to those affected," Fok said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for EEG said no further questions from the media would be answered, including whether the photos were genuine or fake.
The 300 fans, most in their teens, who held banners and signs in support of Chung, left the Chiu Chow Dynasty restaurant in Wan Chai after Chung had left, but few were prepared to comment on what happened at the gathering.
"Support, support, support" was uttered by one while another shouted "Kung Hei Fat Choy" or Happy Lunar New Year.
Mr Ho, a passer-by, and his 10-year- old son outside the building, which was flanked by at least 100 journalists, said the media should bear part of the responsibility for the incident.
"Some of the newspapers have exaggerated the issue," he said, referring to many front page reports in local Chinese newspapers over the past couple of weeks.
Before the gathering started, one of several dozen fans waiting to enter the restaurant fainted but was quickly helped by others.
Over the past two weeks, more than 400 nude photos - or about 30 percent of the 1,300 police say they have uncovered - have emerged on internet forums.
This was despite police claiming to have arrested "the source of the leaks" on February 4.