Chinese film star Edison Chen said Monday he was shocked when photos of him in bed with eight different women appeared on the Internet last year, in a scandal that dominated Hong Kong headlines for weeks.
The Vancouver-born star was testifying Monday in a British Columbia courtroom for the trial of Ho Chun Sze, which is taking place in China. Sze faces three counts of obtaining access to a computer with illegal intent.
Dressed in a black suit, black tie and tan dress shirt, Chen told a British Columbia Supreme Court justice he never intended anyone else to see the explicit photographs.
"I'm quite a private person. I enjoy my privacy, I need my privacy," he testified. "This was never meant for anyone else to see."
The series of photographs showing Chen in bed with eight of the country's best-known actresses and singers surfaced on the Internet in January 2008.
The scandal dominated Hong Kong headlines for weeks last year, and the Chinese government censured the country's top Internet search engine for allegedly helping spread the photos of the stars apparently performing sex acts or in sexually suggestive poses.
Photos were copied from laptop
Police said the images were copied illegally from the 28-year-old star's laptop.
Chen testified that he noticed his laptop missing when he was moving last year, but told the judge he did not disclose his password to anyone.
Then on Jan. 29, 2008, he said his friends started contacting him about the images circulating on the Internet.
"This was a very huge shock to me," Chen told the court.
He said he went to a lawyer who reported the laptop missing to police. Investigators showed him two large books filled with pictures Chen identified as photos he had taken.
"Of course I had seen these pictures. I took these pictures. They were in my personal computer," he said.
Chen, a rap singer and star of a popular series of Hong Kong action films, apologized last year for the scandal and left the entertainment business, recently returning to his childhood home of British Columbia.
Dozens of Chinese-language and English-language photographers and media gathered at the Canadian court for Chen's appearance, but the crowd paled in comparison to the throngs that followed the star in the early days of the scandal.
Some of the pages hosting the photos of Chen received more than 25 million hits, and the celebrity feeding frenzy crashed the web in Hong Kong.