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The Discovery of Computer Crime in Hong Kong
Journal of Information, Law and Technology (2005)
  • Kam C. Wong, Xavier University

On July 1 of 1997 Hong Kong was returned to China. At that point in time, Hong Kong was still operating as a traditional economy. Except in some circles - banking industry, stock exchange, information technology firms - information highway has yet to arrive and computer crimes were rare occurrences. After 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR or SAR) government pledged to develop Hong Kong into a 21st century cyberport. Overnight, information security emerged as a major concern and computer crime became a huge problem. How and why did the criminalization of computer deviance occurred? In what way is computer crime different from traditional crime? Are computer offenses mala in se vs. mala prohibitum crimes? What were the forces involved and process taken in “creating” computer crime? Such research questions become more intriguing, enticing, urgent, and necessary when one realizes that imperial China did not recognize intellectual property. Contemporary Hong Kong has no respect for copyrights. Both have no experience with and conception of computer crime. How computer crime becomes a cognizable phenomenon in Hong Kong deserves investigation; first as a mean to understand the indigenous crime creation process – factors involved, dynamics transpired - in Hong Kong, and later in providing empirical data to theorize upon such a process in a traditional (Chinese) culture. This article investigated how computer crime is created in Hong Kong; a subject matter never explored before in the literature. It is observed that the creation of computer crime is a top down affairs and an externally driven event. It resulted from the convergence of a number of factors and involving a host of parties, played out over time (1996 – 2003), including 1997 transfer of sovereignty political dynamics, private sector (e-banking, e-stock trading) security needs, government IT policy (cyberport development) considerations, foreign anti-privacy concerns, community outrage over Internet gambling, and last but not least sensational computer crime news coverage.

  • Hong Kong computer crime,
  • computer mediated communication,
  • cyberspace governance,
  • e-banking,
  • privacy
Publication Date
Fall August 22, 2005
Citation Information
Kam C. Wong. "The Discovery of Computer Crime in Hong Kong" Journal of Information, Law and Technology Vol. 2005 Iss. 1 (2005)
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