Now Playing: Jilted Lover’s bomb

Bad Luck on the Internet

Sally likes to shop online and surf around but she seems to be having bad luck. She bought counterfeit product and was cheated by a fake online bidding post. Even making comments on other posts seems to get her into trouble. Is Sally a victim of various crimes?

The Invisible Thief

Andy is a Computer Science student who likes to study hacking and computer security. One day, he hacked into a company’s computer system, deleted some contents from the company’s website, and copied some clients’ information. What will he do with those clients’ information?

My Wayward Girlfriend’s Punishment

Yee, an unruly girlfriend, is used to scolding her boyfriend whenever she likes. But she did not expect her practice to become an Internet sensation, and did not expect the fierce criticism and teasing that she received. Yee was deeply upset by the incident and set up a group on a social network, asking others to join her to commit suicide…

The Teacher’s Password

Chi Ming, a Form 3 student, has got hold of his teacher’s (Mr. Leung) intranet password by accident. What will Chi Ming do with the password?

Illegal e-Life

Him works in a hospital and has a boring life. He likes to download and upload pop music, movies and TV programmes to share with others on the Internet. Him never intended to share the hospital patient’s information with others, but he did it by accident.

Case in Brief

Hoi suspected that his girlfriend was having an affair with someone else. By correctly guessing the password for his girlfriend’s email account, he managed to log in to his girlfriend’s email account and found out the cruel truth. Hoi decided to take revenge…


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  1. Has Hoi committed any offences by accessing Po Chu’s emails without her permission?

    If Hoi knew that Po Chu would not have consented to his accessing her email account, he commits the offence of “unauthorized access to a computer by telecommunications” contrary to Section 27A of the Telecommunications Ordinance (Chapter 106). Unauthorized access occurs, where the person accessing the computer is not the person entitled to control access to the computer, has no authorization to access the computer, does not believe either that he or she has that authority or that authority would have been given had it been applied for.

    The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $20,000.

    When Hoi accessed Po Chu’s email account with intent to read her emails, he committed the offence of “accessing to computer with criminal or dishonest intent” with a view to dishonest gain for himself contrary to Section 161(1)(c) of the Crimes Ordinance (Chapter 200). He intended to gain information (Po Chu’s emails) which he did not have at the time. The only issue is whether he was dishonest.

    Whether or not Hoi was dishonest depends upon the answers to two questions: “the Ghosh test”. The first question is whether Hoi’s accessing Po Chu’s emails without her permission would be regarded as dishonest by ordinary reasonable and decent people. This is an objective test. If the answer is "yes", the second question is whether Hoi knew that his conduct was dishonest according to that standard. This is a subjective test. If the answer is "yes", then Hoi is dishonest. Whether or not he considered his conduct as dishonest (as opposed to knowing it was dishonest according to the standards of ordinary decent people) is irrelevant.

    Ordinary reasonable and decent people would likely regard Hoi's act of reading Po Chu’s emails without her consent as not only disrespectful and reprehensible but as dishonest. Hoi knew at the time he did it that he was doing something dishonest in the eyes of reasonable and decent people by covertly logging into Po Chu’s email account. Hoi's act would be regarded as dishonest at law.

    The maximum penalty for the offence is 5 years’ imprisonment.

  2. Hoi posted a message on the Internet claiming that he intended to make and detonate a bomb and asking other people to help him do that. What crime did Hoi commit? If Hoi really did not have the intention to carry out the plan, has he committed a crime?

    Hoi will likely have committed the offence of “inciting or soliciting other persons to commit a crime” under the common law. By asking for help in making and detonating the bomb, Hoi is encouraging other persons to join with him in causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property contrary to Section 53 of the Crimes Ordinance (Chapter 200). If Hoi did not intend to make and detonate a bomb he would not commit the offence of incitement. Incitement requires an intention that the persons to whom the inciting words are directed should commit the offence referred to. If Hoi was simply making a joke, he would not intend other persons to act upon his words.

  3. Have the persons responding to Hoi’s message committed any crime?

    If the replies themselves amount to incite other persons to join Hoi’s enterprise, the persons sending those replies might themselves have committed the common law offences of incitement. All would depend on the contents of the reply and, for the offence of incitement, the intent of the sender of the reply.