Hong Kong celebrity sex-photos scandal suspect found guilty

Hong Kong celebrity sex-photos scandal suspect found guilty Hong Kong  - A computer technician Wednesday was found guilty of stealing explicit photos from Hong Kong pop star Edison Chen, triggering a massive scandal involving a number of young starlets.

Sze Ho-chun, 24, downloaded explicit images from the laptop computer of the singer-actor that showed Chen engaging in sex acts with a number of well-known women, a Hong Kong court found.

He now faces a possible jail term of up to five years over the distribution of the photographs which were seen by millions of internet users in China and around the world in early 2008.

The 1,300 pictures showed stars including singer Gillian Chung and actress Cecilia Cheung naked with Chen, creating a scandal which tarnished the squeaky clean image of Hong Kong's Canto-pop stars.

Chen, 28, was forced to issue a public apology, flee Hong Kong for Canada and announce his temporary retirement from showbiz.

At Wednesday's hearing in Hong Kong's Kowloon City Court, Sze was convicted of three counts of obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent. He had denied all charges.

The magistrate told Sze he had been irresponsible and dishonest and stole the images knowing he had no right to them. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on May 13.

The trial earlier this month included evidence from Chen, which was given in a court in Vancouver when he refused to return to Hong Kong for the trial.

Prosecutors said Chen was a regular customer of Sze at the computer shop where he worked and alleged that Sze passed the photographs to another person who uploaded them onto the internet.

Sze, is said to have downloaded the images while repairing Chen's laptop.

The distribution of the explicit photographs had a huge impact on the careers and personal lives on the women featured in them, who later hit out at Chen for failing to apologize to them.

Chen earlier this year received a warning letter containing a bullet telling him to keep out of the public eye after he made his first public appearance since the scandal.