In a case which involved the posting of the personal data of a police officer on a social media platform in violation of an interim injunction order granted by the High Court, the defendant was convicted of civil contempt of court yesterday (October 19) and sentenced to 28 days’ imprisonment, suspended for one year. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong (Privacy Commissioner), Ms Ada CHUNG Lai-ling, respected and welcomed the judgment.
The Privacy Commissioner stressed, “The cyber world is not beyond the law. The two interim injunction orders relating to doxxing granted by the High Court last year are still in force at present. Contempt of court is a serious matter. Anyone who breaches the relevant injunctions, once convicted, may be subject to an immediate custodial sentence. Members of the public are urged not to flout the law.”
The High Court granted an interim injunction order (HCA 1957/2019) in October 2019 to restrain persons from disclosing personal data of police officers and their family members without their consent, with intention to intimidate or harass, or likely to intimidate or harass, police officers and their family members. The order also restrains persons from intimidating or harassing police officers and their family members. It further restrains persons from assisting, inciting or abetting others to commit any of the aforesaid acts. In addition, the High Court issued another interim injunction order (HCA 2007/2019) restraining persons from wilfully disseminating or publishing on internet-based platform or medium any material or information for the purpose of promoting, encouraging or inciting the use or threat of violence, with intention to cause, or likely to cause, bodily injury to any person or damage to any property within Hong Kong. The order also restrains persons from wilfully assisting, inciting or abetting others to commit any of the aforesaid acts.
Since the above-mentioned injunction orders were granted, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, has referred 45 doxxing cases of suspected violations of the injunction orders to the Department of Justice for follow-up. On 17 June 2020, a defendant was convicted in the High Court of civil contempt of court for sharing the personal data of a police officer and his family members on a social media platform. The defendant was sentenced to 28 days’ imprisonment, suspended for one year. This is the first conviction for violating the relevant injunction order.