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Police examine letter threat against Edison Chen
By Teddy Ng and Peggy Chan (HK Edition)
Updated: 2009-03-12 07:36

HONG KONG: A letter threatening disgraced entertainer Edison Chen has been handed over to Hong Kong Police.

The threat came in the form of a letter sent to Cable TV. The channel earlier aired an interview with Cecilia Cheung, one of the female celebrities swept up in scandal, when sexually explicit photos taken by Chen hit the Internet last year. During the interview Cheung was critical of the singer/actor for failing to apologize to the women whose nude images appeared in the photos.

The broadcaster did not release the text of the threatening letter, which was written in English. Instead, the channel gave a summary of the contents on its entertainment news report.

Hundreds of photos involving Chen and female celebrities, including Gillian Chung, who also has broken her silence over the incident, circulated through the Internet last year.

The station said it had received an A4 sized paper bag. Inside was a white envelope containing the letter and a metal object that looked like a bullet.

The letter said the warning to Chen is final. The entertainer should not appear in promotional and public relations events after April 4. The writer expressed in the letter the hope that Chen would take the warning seriously, or his personal safety would be at risk. The letter said the writer gave Chen a reprieve when the entertainer appeared in Singapore late last month. The letter said no second chance would be given.

The sender's address is in Pennsylvania. Eight stamps marked "USA First-Class Forever" were affixed to the bag that arrived without a postmark, according to the report.

The broadcaster reported the letter to the police, saying it had received no similar threats in the past.

Chen got a threatening phone call shortly after a press conference last year, during which he declared he had failed as a suitable role model and would withdraw from the Hong Kong entertainment industry.

Chen reported the threat to police at the time. When called to give a deposition in the case of the computer technician charged with stealing and releasing the photographs, Chen insisted on giving his evidence in a Vancouver courtroom. Chen said then he feared for his personal safety if he were to return to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Baptist University journalism associate professor To Yiu-ming said the threat should be condemned even though it has little impact on press freedom.

"Although the letter does not target the TV station but Edison Chen, it is still very inappropriate to do so," he said.

Legislative Council security panel deputy chairman James To said threats to media figures equate to threats to public safety.

He said this is malicious conduct and a "common enemy of the public".

Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee said the police will handle the matter.

"Any violent and threatening behavior is not welcomed in Hong Kong," he said.

Officials at Edison Chen's management company, EastAsia Entertainment, said they were shocked over the letter, but declined further comment.

(HK Edition 03/12/2009 page1)