Internet sex crimes against children: Hong Kong's response
The constant development of new technologies such as the Internet and other digital communication devices are increasingly becoming a modern day must have for children. While it is acknowledged that the Internet has tremendous benefits and continues to enrich society in general, a dark side exists. The Internet is largely uncensored. The easy accessibility of the Internet via the home, schools, public libraries, Internet cafes and 3G mobile phones, children are exposed not only to readily available inappropriate material but also unsolicited communication by strangers. This article provides an overview of sex crimes the Internet facilitates against children and the specific problem of online child pornography. The paper examines Hong Kong's response with specific reference to the recently enacted Prevention of Child Pornography Ordinance (Cap 579) (PCPO). The Ordinance's salient features such as the definition of child pornography, the issue of pseudo photographs, the offences created and the defences available under the Ordinance are evaluated. An analysis is made of recently decided cases with respect to the new offence of possession. It finally concludes with the view that a genuine effort is required at both national and international levels to combat child pornography on the Internet.