The Court of Final Appeal clarified the coverage of the 'Access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent' charge. Photo: iStock

People convicted of taking upskirt videos in public places or nude videos of their domestic workers with hidden cameras are now free from criminal charges after a recent clarification of the law by Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal.

On Thursday, the top Hong Kong court rejected an appeal filed by the Department of Justice against four primary school teachers for leaking examination papers through their mobile phones.

The defendants were previously charged with “access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent,” but the Court of Final Appeal ruled they can walk free from the charge, which only targets a person who illegally uses another person’s computer.

The court’s clarification has cast uncertainty over 13 similar pending cases, while those already convicted on the charge can now appeal, the Apple Daily reported Friday.

In 2017, a man was jailed for two months after being found guilty of taking videos of an Indonesian domestic worker taking a shower. Last year, another man used his mobile phone to take nude videos of his girlfriend’s niece in a toilet.

In these cases, those convicted were charged with “access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent” and they can appeal after the clarification, according to the report.

Some of those convicted on the charge and who only used their own devices may appeal, said Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a Legislative Council member.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said it was now harder to prosecute people who took upskirt videos on the streets or nude videos of their domestic workers at home. Prosecutors can only use other laws such as loitering to charge those who allegedly take upskirt videos on the street, he told Wen Wei Po.

He said it was urgent to launch an anti-voyeurism law, which was previously proposed by the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong.

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