Hong Kong star at centre of sex photos scandal quits showbiz

Society Materials 21 February 2008 12:39 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The Hong Kong singer/ actor at the centre of a scandal over sex photos showing him with a string of young starlets Thursday admitted taking the pictures and said he was giving up his show business career.

Hundreds of pictures of Edison Chen, 27, naked with women including Twins singer Gillian Chung have been circulated widely on the internet since they were apparently downloaded when he took his laptop computer for repairs.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, hours after flying back to Hong Kong from the US for the first time since the scandal broke, Chen announced he was leaving the local entertainment industry "indefinitely."

Chen, a popular singer who has appeared in films including Infernal Affairs and The Grudge 2, apologized to the women involved in the scandal and admitted for the first time he had taken the photos, saying they had been stolen "with malicious intent."

Looking sombre in a dark jacket and jeans, Chen said: "I give my apologies sincerely to you all - unreservedly and with my heart. I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society, and in this regard I have failed as a role model.

"However I wish that this matter will teach everyone a lesson: to all the young people in our community, let this be a lesson for you all. This is not an example to be set for you."

Millions of people in Hong Kong and mainland China have viewed the pictures which began circulating three weeks ago and are now being shown on scores of websites.

The scandal over the pictures has soured the saccharine-sweet image of Hong Kong's Canto-pop industry and potentially wrecked the careers not just of Chen but the women in the photographs.

More than 2,000 people complained when Gillian Chung appeared on a charity TV show on Sunday night, saying her appearance was inappropriate in the light of the photos scandal.

Nine people have been arrested in Hong Kong in connection with the alleged theft and distribution of the pictures of Chen and the women. All have been released on bail.