Chen to leave HK in wake of photo scandal


HONG KONG -- Singer-actor Edison Chen said that he will "step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry indefinitely" at a press conference Thursday, his first public appearance since a sex photo scandal that has dominated headlines in Asia broke Jan 28.

Chen ("The Grudge 2") admitted that he took most of the photos, which were once claimed to be "doctored" by the management of the first female subject, Gillian Chung of the singing duo Twins.

The first photos appeared on the Internet on Jan. 27, and were quickly and widely circulated in Hong Kong and China. Hundreds more explicit photos depicting sex acts with Chen and various Hong Kong actresses and singers, including Chung and Cecilia Cheung, have been released by unidentified sources since then.

Canadian-born Chen left the territory for the U.S. and Canada soon after the photos surfaced and only returned Thursday morning. During the press conference, where he read a statement in English, he apologized to the women in the photos and their families, his parents and the Hong Kong people.

The Hong Kong police arrested eight people in connection to the case beginning Jan. 30, but the photos kept coming. A 23-year-old man who worked at the shop where Chen took his computer for repair was identified by the police as the source. Ironically, after his arrest, more than 400 previously unseen photos were leaked onto the Internet, indicating that either the source was wrongly identified or there were multiple sources. Police revealed that more than 1,300 photos were stolen from Chen's computer.