立場新聞 Stand News

請誠實地回應「不誠實取用電腦」的適用範圍

2015/6/9 — 9:25

【法政匯思短評:請誠實地回應「不誠實取用電腦」的適用範圍】
THE PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUP’S SHORT COMMENTARY: PLEASE GIVE AN HONEST ANSWER ON THE SCOPE OF "ACCESS TO COMPUTER WITH DISHONEST INTENT"

於2015年6月2日保安事務委員會上,莫乃光議員就《刑事罪行條例》第161條「有犯罪或不誠實意圖而取用電腦」的適用範圍提出質詢。

根據立法會文件編號〔立法會CB(2)1560/14-15(03)號文件〕 [1],保安局引用了以下兩件案件以確立第161條旨在打擊任何有犯罪意圖或不誠實意圖使用電腦的罪行:

廣告

- HKSAR v Tsun Shui Lun [2]
- 律政司司長訴王嘉業 [3]

保安局的說法實屬以偏概全,理據如下:

廣告

(一) 第一個所指案例並沒有說明第 161 條適用於網上言論

HKSAR v Tsun Shui Lun 一案中,被告人因未獲授權進入他人電腦而被起訴第 161(c) 條的罪行。保安局引用的判詞第 20 段,明顯只針對未獲授權進入他人電腦的行為,而並非網上言論。

保安局只是局部引述陳兆愷法官在第 20 段的判詞,令人有斷章取意之感。於未有引述的部分,法官舉出了未獲授權進入他人電腦的行為例子如下:

- 商人意圖得到競爭對手的商業機密令該商人從中獲得利益、
- 前僱員意國獲取商業機密令前僱主受損、
- 前僱員獲取前僱主客戶名單以竊取其生意、或
- 銀行員工意圖刪除銀行記錄造成混亂或滋擾僱客。

法官其後在判詞的第 50 段再列出量刑時會考慮的行為嚴重性,所舉出的例子都與商業罪行有關[4]。這些例子不但不包括警方常用作控告的網上言論,就連罪案類型也大為不同。

因此,保安局的說法 (即「法官亦曾經清楚表示,同意第161條旨在打擊任何有犯罪意圖或不誠實意圖使用電腦的罪行」) 根本是以偏概全甚至完全錯誤。

(二) 第二個所指案例並沒有達至局方的結論

保安局又引用了 律政司司長訴王嘉業 的一宗風化案以說明根據第 161 條,只要犯案人取用了電腦,而在該關鍵時刻有着該條例所列出的四種犯罪意圖,便干犯了第161條。

事實上,此案只是確認了以智能手提電話或任何電子裝置犯罪也能以第161條作檢控。亦即是說,如道具不是電子裝置,第161條便不適用。保安局不可以 (亦絕不應該) 把案件的影響無限延伸,達至局方希望達至的結論。

社會上亦有聲音質疑第161條是否對付此類風化案的合適控罪,因為儘管第161條可用作檢控利用手機犯罪的案件,但只會給人「用第161條檢控是因為就手」之感。

有必要檢討條例的適用範圍

以上所見,保安局應立即檢討「有犯罪或不誠實意圖而取用電腦」的適用範圍,避免因該條文的適用範圍過於廣泛而被濫用,更不應以「邊條容易告邊條」[5]為由,以第161條「告住先」。

法政匯思
2015年6月9日

[1] http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr14-15/chinese/panels/se/papers/se20150602cb2-1560-3-c.pdf
[2] HCMA723/1998
[3] HCMA77/2013
[4] 判詞第50 段中提到: “There is a very wide range of criminal and dishonest activities which fall within the ambit of s.161. In this day and age, very serious crimes or frauds can be committed by gaining access to other people's computers and uplifting information contained therein. Examples include meddling bank records, transferring large sums of money from one account to another, and stealing secret programmes and data such as customers lists and business records. Such activities can be very serious and obtaining access into computers with such intention or for such purposes is no less grave.”
[5] 蘋果日報2014年12月8日報導:議員質疑只捕不控如恐嚇: http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20141208/18961819

In the meeting on 2 June 2015 of Legislative Council Panel on Security, Councilor Charles Mok raised inquiries on the scope of applicability of section 161 of Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200), access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent (“Section 161”).

According to LegCo Paper Number (LC Paper No. CB(2)1560/14-15(03))[1], Security Bureau relied on the following two cases to establish that Section 161 aims at combating any acts of using computer with criminal or dishonest intent.

- HKSAR v Tsun Shui Lun[2]
- Secretary for Justice v Wong Ka Yip, Ken[3]

For the reasons below, the statement made by the Security Bureau is simply a sweeping generalisation.

(I) The first case referred to does not state Section 161 applies to online statements

In HKSAR v Tsun Shui Lun, the defendant was charged with an offence under section 161(c) for his unauthorized access into another person’s computer. The Security Bureau quoted paragraph 20 of the judgment which apparently only focuses on authorised access into another person’s computer, rather than online statements.

In fact, the Security Bureau only partially quoted paragraph 20 of Hon Chan CJHC’s judgment. In the remaining part of paragraph 20, the judge named a few acts of unauthorised access into another person’s computer, which includes:

- A businessman wants to acquire information about his competitors in order to enable himself to have an advantage over them.
- A disgruntled employee wants to ruin his employer’s business by revealing his employer’s trade secrets to others.
- An ex-employee wants to obtain a list of his former employer’s customers in order to solicit business from them.
- A dissatisfied bank officer wants to erase the bank’s records form the computer in order to cause confusion or to irritate the bank’s customers.

Hon Chan CJHC when considering sentencing in paragraph 50 of the same judgment also listed some examples of criminal and dishonest activities which fall within the ambit of Section 161. All the examples are related to commercial crimes. [4] However, these examples do not include online statements, which have been frequently prosecuted, and are of an entirely different nature.

Therefore, the statement made by Security Bureau (ie the Judge has clearly indicated that Section 161 aims at combating any acts of using computer with criminal or dishonest intent) is over-generalised, even entirely wrong.

(II) The second case referred to does not reach an conclusion as the Security Bureau claimed

The Security Bureau also referred to Security for Justice v Wong Ka Yip, Ken to support the statement that, according to Section 161, once an offender had accessed the computer, and at the material time he had one of the four intents or purposes set out in section 161, he would have contravened the section.

In fact, this case only confirmed that Section 161 covered acts using smart phone or any other electronic devices to commit the offence. This means that if the device used is not an electronic one, Section 161 will be inapplicable. The Security Bureau cannot (and absolutely should not) extend the judgment limitlessly so as to achieve the conclusion that it wishes to see.

There are also doubts as to whether it is appropriate to engage Section 161 to deal with this type of indecency cases. Although it is established that Section 161 could be used to prosecute crimes using mobile phones as device, it gives an impression that engaging Section 161 to prosecute is just done out of convenience.

Calling for Review of Applicability of Section 161

On the aforesaid, the Security Bureau should review the applicability “access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent” as soon as possible, in order to avoid ill-use of Section 161 in prosecution. Section 161 should not be engaged for the sole reason of “cherry picking the charge which appears easier to secure a conviction”.[5]

Progressive Lawyers Group
9 June 2015

[1] http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr14-15/chinese/panels/se/papers/se20150602cb2-1560-3-c.pdf
[2] HCMA723/1998
[3] HCMA77/201
[4] Paragraph 50 of the judgment states: "There is a very wide range of criminal and dishonest activities which fall within the ambit of s.161. In this day and age, very serious crimes or frauds can be committed by gaining access to other people's computers and uplifting information contained therein. Examples include meddling bank records, transferring large sums of money from one account to another, and stealing secret programmes and data such as customers lists and business records. Such activities can be very serious and obtaining access into computers with such intention or for such purposes is no less grave."
[5] Apple Daily, 8 December 2014, Councilor questioned: arresting but not prosecuting are no different from blackmail: http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20141208/18961819

發表意見