Date: 17 May 2023
A 37-year-old Male Convicted and Sentenced for Doxxing an Intermediary
of Foreign Domestic Helpers
The Shatin Magistrates’ Court today convicted a 37-year old male, Mr HUI Kam-fat (defendant), of one charge of a doxxing offence upon his guilty plea. The Court on the same day sentenced the defendant to four weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Ms Ada CHUNG Lai-ling, welcomed the court’s ruling.
Ms Ada CHUNG said, “Members of the public should resolve their disputes by lawful means. Doxxing is not an option as it would only escalate conflict. Moreover, doxxing is a serious offence and the offender is liable on conviction to immediate imprisonment, with the maximum penalty being a fine up to $1,000,000 and imprisonment for five years.”
Background of the case
The defendant signed a contract with the victim, an intermediary, for employment of a foreign domestic helper in 2021. The victim and the defendant later ran into a monetary dispute after the domestic helper had failed to report duty. In April 2022, the defendant posted the personal data of the victim, including her Chinese name, English name, the name of the school which she attended, photos of her as well as the name of her business and business address, etc. in three doxxing messages on a social media platform alongside some negative comments and allegations.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data arrested the defendant on 13 October 2022. Upon legal advice obtained from the Department of Justice, one charge of “disclosing personal data without data subject’s consent causing specified harm”, contrary to section 64(3C) of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), was laid against the defendant on 20 April 2023 in respect of his doxxing act.
Today’s court proceedings
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge at the Shatin Magistrates’ Court and was convicted by the Court today in relation to the three disclosures of the personal data of the victim made by the defendant on a social media platform on 7 and 8 April 2022 without the consent of the victim, with an intent to cause specified harm to the victim or her family members, or being reckless as to whether specified harm would be (or would likely be) caused to the victim or her family members, and the disclosures resulted in specified harm to the victim.
Relevant Provisions under the PDPO
Pursuant to section 64(3C) of the PDPO, a person commits an offence if—
(a) the person discloses any personal data of a data subject without the relevant consent of the data subject—
(i) with an intent to cause any specified harm to the data subject or any family member of the data subject; or
(ii) being reckless as to whether any specified harm would be, or would likely be, caused to the data subject or any family member of the data subject; and
(b) the disclosure causes any specified harm to the data subject or any family member of the data subject.
A person who commits an offence under section 64(3C) is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $1,000,000 and imprisonment for 5 years.
According to section 64(6) of the PDPO, specified harm in relation to a person means—
(a) harassment, molestation, pestering, threat or intimidation to the person;
(b) bodily harm or psychological harm to the person;
(c) harm causing the person reasonably to be concerned for the person’s safety or well-being; or
(d) damage to the property of the person.