Edison Chen (陳冠希), the male star at the centre of the sex photos scandal that has rocked Hong Kong, held a long-awaited press conference today. He confirmed that the photos are authentic, apologized for the fallout, and promised to suspend his showbiz career.
It was the first time the actor-singer had returned to Hong Kong and faced the media since he left the city after sex photos of him and women – purportedly celebrities including Gillian Chung (鍾欣桐), Bobo Chan (陳文媛) and Cecilia Cheung (張栢芝) – started surfacing on the internet almost four weeks ago.
He arrived in Hong Kong around 10 AM from the US, but managed to avoid the staked-out media because his management company had arranged with the airport to sneak him out of a back door. He addressed the press at the Hong Kong International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay around 3 PM. His entire statement was in English.
He confirmed that the sex photos belong to him and had been stolen from his computer.
"I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the internet were taken by me," the 27-year-old said.
He added: "But these photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone.
"These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent."
Although he did not reveal the identity of the women in the photos, he apologized to them.
"I would like to apologize to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been feeling. I'm sorry," he said.
He apologized for the public fallout the scandal had caused.
"Most importantly, I would like to say sorry to all the people in Hong Kong. I give my apologies sincerely to you all, unreservedly and with my heart," he said.
He added: "I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society. And, in this regard, I failed as a role model."
He revealed that he will be quitting show business.
"During my time away, I've made an important decision. I will wholeheartedly fulfil all commitments that I have to date. But, after that, I’ve decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. I've decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul," he said.
"I will be away from Hong Kong entertainment indefinitely."
He said that he is cooperating with the police, who have been investigating the leak and spread of the photos.
"I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published, and I will continue to assist them. After this press con, I have obligations to help them with their investigation."
He finished: "I hope you all will accept my apology and give me a chance."
Although hundreds of reporters, photographers and cameramen had gathered, Edison did not take any questions.
When Edison was driven away, over a hundred police officers cleared the road, with some joining hands to form a human ring around the star's Mercedes-Benz.
Three outnumbered and brave fans turned up to support their idol.