Guilty verdict in Chen sex photo case

Computer technician convicted of copying and distributing pictures

HONG KONG--A Hong Kong computer technician was convicted today of stealing the racy photos of actor-singer Edison Chen that shocked the Chinese-speaking world when they were circulated on the Internet last year.

The photos showed Chen performing sex acts with eight Hong Kong actresses and singers. They caused an uproar in the socially conservative ethnic Chinese community and forced the Chinese-Canadian entertainer and the other stars to take extended breaks.

The technician, Sze Ho-chun, was convicted of three counts of accessing a computer for dishonest gains and was remanded to custody pending sentencing in two weeks, Sze's lawyer, Kelvin Lai, said.

Lai said it wasn't immediately clear if Sze will appeal.

Television footage showed Sze arriving at court for the verdict wearing a surgical mask and sunglasses, with his head covered by a hat and a hooded jacket.

Magistrate Tong Man said Sze committed a serious crime by betraying the trust of his client and that he will likely sentence the technician to a prison term, radio RTHK reported on its Web site.

Prosecutors said during trial that Sze copied the photos from Chen's laptop when it was dropped off for repairs and gave other clients copies of the pictures on a compact disc.

Chen testified against the technician and identified several of the women featured in the photos at a deposition in Vancouver, Canada in February.

None of the female celebrities--including singer Gillian Chung and actress Cecilia Cheung--were required to appear during the 10-day trial.

Chen appeared in the 2002 hit Hong Kong police thriller "Infernal Affairs," which Martin Scorsese remade as "The Departed," and in the 2006 horror movie "The Grudge 2" alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar. He also had a cameo in the Hollywood blockbuster "The Dark Knight," released last year.

Chen didn't immediately comment on the verdict.