HK’s Security Bureau expands scope of proposed crimes covering upskirt photography, sexual images used for revenge, blackmail

10-Jul-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong took another step towards adding voyeurism-related offences to its criminal law for the first time on Wednesday, with authorities proposing statutes that would cover the use of sexual images for blackmail or revenge and outlaw the distribution of upskirt photographs.

The new offences, unveiled in a Security Bureau consultation paper, go beyond those previously suggested by its Law Reform Commission, which do not cover crimes that lack a sexual element or the sharing of intimate videos and images online.

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According to the paper, part of a three-month consultation process, the new offences would carry maximum jail terms of three to five years.

The consultation is part of an effort to plug a loophole for sexual offenders that resulted from a court decision last year.

In May, the Court of Final Appeal restricted how prosecutors could use the charge of “obtaining access to a computer for criminal or dishonest gain”. While originally intended to combat digital crimes, the charge had become a preferred tool of prosecutors in going after sexual offenders.

The May ruling ended that practise, effectively creating a legal vacuum for upskirt photography, as the city has never had bespoke criminal statutes targeting voyeuristic acts.

According to Wednesday’s consultation paper, the bureau accepted the Law Reform Commission’s proposed charge for offenders who commit voyeuristic acts for sexual gratification. That crime would be punishable by up to five years in jail.

But that earlier version failed to cover people who commit such acts for other purposes, such as blackmail, revenge or profit, the bureau said. The new offence of “intimate prying”, which would carry a maximum jail sentence of three years, expands the offence to cover those instances as well.

On upskirt photography, the bureau agreed there should be offences created that cover non-consensual photography of intimate parts both for sexual gratification and without a sexual motive.

The acts are punishable by jail terms of five and three years, respectively.

“The indecent photos taken… could be kept permanently, exchanged, circulated, sold as commodities, or even used to threaten the victim, and therefore the victim could be subjected to harassment over a long period of time,” the consultation paper read, citing a Court of Appeal judgment.

The new offences proposed by the Security Bureau on Wednesday, however, focus on distribution, outlawing both the distribution of intimate images taken surreptitiously and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

If approved, anyone circulating images known to be obtained from a voyeuristic crime would be criminally liable, as would anyone who shares images of victims engaged in an intimate act without their consent.

Both crimes feature a maximum jail term of five years, and the bureau has proposed offenders be placed on the government’s sexual conviction record checklist.

The bureau is now asking members of the public to submit their views on potential defences for the proposed offences, including the possibility that images were intended scientific, educational or medical purposes.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-security-bureau-expands-125811726.html

 


Category: Hong Kong

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