Date: 12 January 2024
A 42-year-old Male Convicted and Sentenced for Doxxing another person
because of Monetary Dispute
The Shatin Magistrates’ Court today convicted a 42-year old male, Mr WONG Ho-loon (defendant), of two charges of a doxxing offence upon his guilty plea. The Court on the same day sentenced the defendant to two months’ imprisonment, suspended for 2 years. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (Privacy Commissioner), Ms Ada CHUNG Lai-ling, welcomed the court’s ruling.
The Privacy Commissioner, Ms Ada CHUNG Lai-ling 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 victim had a monetary dispute with a third party in 2020. Subsequently, the defendant posted two messages containing the personal data of the victim on a personal account of a social media platform respectively in September and December 2022 requesting settlement of the outstanding loan from the victim. The personal data disclosed included the victim’s English name, mobile phone number, his photos and a copy of the victim’s Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID card) which showed particulars of his Chinese name, English name, HKID card number, date of birth, gender and a photo of him, etc.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data arrested the defendant on 27 July 2023. Upon legal advice obtained from the Department of Justice, two charges of “disclosing personal data without consent”, contrary to section 64(3A) of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO), were laid against him on 29 December 2023 in respect of the doxxing acts.
Today’s court proceedings
The defendant pleaded guilty to all charges at the Shatin Magistrates’ Court and was convicted by the Court today in relation to the two disclosures of the personal data of the victim made by the defendant on a social media platform in September and December 2022 without the consent of the victim, with an intent to cause specified harm to the victim or his family members, or being reckless as to whether specified harm would be (or would likely be) caused to the victim or his family members.
Relevant Provisions under the PDPO
Pursuant to section 64(3A) of the PDPO, a person commits an offence if the person discloses any personal data of a data subject without the relevant consent of the data subject—
(a) with an intent to cause any specified harm to the data subject or any family member of the data subject; or
(b) 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.
A person who commits an offence under section 64(3A) is liable on conviction to a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for two 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.