Trial opens in Hong Kong celebrity sex scandal


June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 6, 2009 at 3:10 AM EDT

A computer technician pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court to illegally copying and distributing more than 1,000 photos of a Hong Kong actor performing sex acts with a string of starlets.

Sze Ho-chun, an employee of computer shop Elite Multimedia, saw the images on Edison Chen's laptop when the Canadian-born singer-actor brought it in for repair work in 2006, prosecutor Hayson Tse told the Kowloon City Magistracy.

Sze then copied the images on to a computer server which was connected to the Internet, Tse said.

At the start of his 10-day trial, Sze pleaded not guilty to three counts of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for himself or another.

The prosecution said that Sze saved 1,300 sex photos of Chen and other local celebrities on a compact disc and passed the disc to another of his customers. He also told the customer how to access the images on the Internet.

The 24-year-old Sze allegedly sparked one of the city's biggest sex scandals when the photos, which Chen has admitted taking himself, were plastered across the Internet for weeks in February last year.

The pictures showed Chen in compromising positions with celebrities including Canto-pop star Gillian Chung, actress Cecilia Cheung and former actress Bobo Chan.

The incident caused a storm in the celebrity-obsessed city and sent Chen fleeing to his childhood home of Canada.

On Sunday, Chen braved a death threat to appear in public in Singapore with an entourage of security guards to promote his movie "The Sniper."

His appearance came less than a month after a Hong Kong television station received an anonymous letter sent with a gold bullet, warning Chen to stay away from public events if he valued his life.

Hong Kong triads, apparently angered by the scandal's damage to the city's entertainment industry, have allegedly offered a 110,000 US dollar reward for the star's right hand, according to local media reports.

Chen admitted he was a bit fearful of the threat but added that he hoped to resume his career in the Hong Kong movie industry.

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