Edison Chen has officially declared that he’s quitting showbiz, without mention of what his future plans are. This was not a surprised move since there had been earlier reports of the underworld placing a price on his head. He is currently in the United States.

I guess this incident, and many other previous ones, including those that happened in Singapore, should provide people with some sort of idea of the level of privacy protection that there is in reality and the things that people will do; especially if you are pretty/handsome, popular or famous or any of the above.

HONG KONG – HONG KONG singer and actor Edison Chen said on Thursday that he would retire from the Hong Kong entertainment industry to ‘heal himself’, in his first public appearance since a nude photo scandal broke in January.

‘I’ve decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry,’ Chen told hundreds of reporters at a press conference, amid a flood of camera flashes.

He apologised to Hong Kong for the scandal which has drawn blanket media coverage over several weeks.

Hong Kong police said some 1,300 private shots of Chen in bed with at least half a dozen female celebrities had been copied by the staff of a computer repair shop from a faulty laptop believed to belong to Chen, sparking off a media frenzy.

The Canada-born Chen, a hip hop artist and Asian film star who has appeared in films such as Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong triad film which inspired Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film ‘The Departed’, admitted for the first time that most of the pictures circulating on the Internet had been taken by him.

‘These photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone,’ the 27-year-old said in a calm voice.

‘I have failed as a role model. However I wish that this matter will teach everyone a lesson.’

He said in a brief statement he would fulfil existing commitments before stepping down ‘indefinitely’. He added that he would dedicate himself to charity and community work.

‘During my time away I have made an important decision. I will wholeheartedly fulfil all commitments I have to date but after that I have decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry,’ he said.

‘I have decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul. I will dedicate my time to charity and community work within the next few months. I will be away from Hong Kong entertainment indefinitely.’

Hong Kong police have so far made 10 arrests in connection with the scandal.

Chen said he had come back to Hong Kong to account for himself.

‘I would like now to apologise to all the people for all the suffering that has been caused and the problems that have arisen from this,’ Chen said, reading out a statement in English to a packed press conference.

‘I would like to apologise to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been feeling. I am sorry,’ he said.

Media reports say the photos – which allegedly show him in compromising positions with various celebrities, including Canto-pop star Gillian Chung, actress Cecilia Cheung and former actress Bobo Chan – were copied from Chen’s computer when he sent it in for repairs.

Chen admitted taking the photos but said they had been stolen from him.

‘I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the Internet were taken by me but these photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone,’ said the star of ‘Grudge II.’

‘These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent. There’s no doubt whoever obtained these photos had been uploading them on the Internet with malicious and deliberate intent,’ he said.

Chen said he was assisting the police with their investigation.

‘I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published and I will continue to assist them,’ he said, thanking the police ‘for their hard work on this case.’

It has been reported in China Press that Chen attempted suicide after the nude photos of him and several Hong Kong starlets started circulating the Internet.

The 28-year-old singer and actor fled to the United States after the controversy erupted. It is also reported that he refused to eat and have confined himself to his home.

Several companies have terminated their contracts with the star after the scandal came to light. The photos started appearing on the Internet after Chen sent his computer in for repairs.

Hong Kong triads were said to want actor Chen dead after the scandal spread, with racy photos of more starlets including Bobo Chan and Twins singer Gillian Chang were posted on the Net.

Word has it that an underworld figure has offered a HK$500,000 (S$128,000) reward to hack off one of his hands, reported Apple Daily Hong Kong.

Apple Daily HK, quoting a police source, reported that someone is planning to harm Chen when he returns.

Beijing police vow action on HK nude photos
Meanwhile in Beijing, Chinese police have vowed to detain anyone caught distributing nude photos of several Hong Kong pop stars that were recently posted on the Internet, state media reported on Thursday.

Hong Kong police said some 1,300 private shots of the celebrities had been stolen by the staff of a computer repair shop from a faulty laptop believed to belong to Canadian-born singer and actor Edison Chen.

The scandal has caused a media frenzy and feverish downloading and sharing of the photos. Hong Kong police have made several arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

Chinese media said police in the southern city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, had arrested 10 people suspected of producing, selling and purchasing compact discs of the photos.

‘Showing the photos to friends or posting them on blogs or online forums will break the law even if it is not for the purpose of making profits,’ the China Press and Publishing Journal quoted a Beijing police official as saying.

Those who do so could be put under detention for up to 15 days for a misdemeanour offence, the unnamed official said.

‘If someone transmits more than 200 of the photos as a package on the Internet, the sender will be prosecuted for criminal liability,’ the official was quoted as saying.

Authorities in mainland China have ordered Web sites and Internet service providers to exercise self-censorship, filtering and deleting the photos, but private sharing through instant messengers and other software remains rampant.

A Beijing Internet content watchdog has cited Chinese search engine giant Baidu for spreading the photos, asking it to apologise to the public, state media reported.

Tabloid newspapers in celebrity-mad Hong Kong have devoted wide coverage to the scandal, in which photos appear to include at least six stars including actress Cecilia Chung and singer Gillian Chung.

Media in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China have produced a flood of editorials and commentaries reflecting on ethics, humanity, privacy and Internet policies.

Local media reported that Edison Chen might give a briefing in Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon in what would be his first public appearance since the scandal broke in January. — REUTERS

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 21st February 2008

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