Top reporter guilty over upskirt photosLocal | Phoebe Ng 14 Sep 2017
A disgraced former top journalist is facing up to five years behind bars after being convicted on two charges of taking upskirt photos of female colleagues.
But former Ming Pao principal reporter Chow Chin-hung, 37, was acquitted of a third charge of taking pictures of a female subordinate's chest. Sentencing was put back to September 27 for background and psychological reports.
Chow, pictured, was found guilty of two charges of "obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for oneself or another" at Eastern Magistrates' Court.
Magistrate Cheng Lim-chi ruled that Chow had taken upskirt pictures of two Ming Pao staff, Y and Z, as witnesses had noticed Chow's phone was on camera mode underneath the women's skirts.
On June 27, 2015, Chow bent down to take pictures of Y from underneath her long skirt in a photocopying room. Chow's claim he was merely "tying shoelaces" was rejected by the court. "He could have tied his shoelaces some distance away and put his phone somewhere else," Cheng said.
He added he accepted Y's explanation for not immediately reporting Chow to the police. "The witness was too scared to call the police as they had been working together and considered him a respectable senior figure," the magistrate said.
On August 21, 2015, Chow took an upskirt photo of Z as she stood up to arrange documents at her desk. X saw his act.
The defense said there were no related photographs of the three incidents on Chow's iPhone. However, Cheng reckoned it would not affect his verdict as he had considered that all witnesses testified honestly.
"There was a sufficient time lapse between the incidents and when the victims reported to the police for the defendant to delete the pictures," he said.
The third charge involved an incident on June 1, 2015. X tilted her body to arrange her desk while having a conversation with Chow.
Cheng noted that X saw the defendant holding his phone with camera lens pointing toward her but added: "However, you cannot rule out the possibility that Chow was actually on the phone dealing with other matters.."
Chow appeared emotionless when hearing the verdict and Cheng ordered he be remanded in custody.
In mitigation, the defense submitted two unsigned short letters from Chow's former boss, Leung Ma-po, and a lawmaker.
Chow, who is unmarried, had worked for Ming Pao for 13 years. He resigned after the incident was known and worked freelance for lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung before his arrest. Hui confirmed he wrote a mitigation letter but forgot to sign the letter as he had been "rushing."