As much as I’ve tried, it’s been hard to avoid the Edison Chen sex-photo scandal for the past few days. The case has dominated headlines and gossip circles. A friend of mine estimated that three-fourths of the Hong Kong population has seen the photos by now. In the dark? Here’s what happened: last week, pornographic photos that appear to show the 27-year-old actor-singer-clothing designer with celebrities Gillian Chung, Cecelia Cheung and Bobo Chan surfaced on the Internet.
Police believe some 1,300 such pictures were copied from a computer when it was taken to a shop for repair last year. They haven’t specified whether or not it was Chen’s computer, or whether the photos were doctored, but so far, eight people have been arrested for allegedly seizing the images and breaking obscene material laws, according to a Reuters report.
After more than a week of silence, Chen released a video statement (in English) yesterday, apologizing “to anyone who has been affected by this strange, strange ordeal,” and pleading the public to stop circulating the photos and to destroy any copies that have been downloaded. (Police have said that uploading the photos into the public domain is illegal while personal possession/circulation is not.) One blog, Zhonghua Rising, is calling the scandal “Hong Kong’s Biggest Story of the Year.” We’ve got 11 months to pray that that’s not true.