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Raid operation conducted against contravention of Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance

     The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) conducted a raid operation on December 8 against a tutor referral company at its business registration address, a residential unit at Yee Yat House of Tsing Yi Estate, for suspected contravention of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (Cap. 593) (UEMO).

     "We have received many complaints from members of the public alleging that the company had been using the group chat function of an online mobile application, "WhatsApp Messenger", to send out a large number of commercial electronic messages to promote its tutor referral service.

     "Our investigation revealed that these messages were sent to recipient telephone numbers within a chat group that shared the same prefix. We have reasons to believe that the company has contravened section 18 of the UEMO by sending commercial electronic messages to electronic addresses obtained through automated means.

     "OFCA therefore conducted a raid operation on December 8 and identified the person running the tutor referral service. We have reminded that person and other related parties of the possible contravention and the need to comply with the requirements in the UEMO," a spokesman for OFCA said.

     Any person who contravenes section 18 of the UEMO commits an offence and may be subject to prosecution. The person is liable to a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for five years on conviction on indictment.

     OFCA will continue its investigation against the company on the suspected contravention of the UEMO.

     Since the commencement of the UEMO in December 2007 up to the end of November 2014, OFCA has issued 3,018 advisory letters, 654 warning letters and 24 enforcement notices to and instituted one prosecution against electronic commercial message senders who were found in breach of the UEMO. OFCA has also conducted six raid operations, including the operation conducted on December 8.

     "OFCA is committed to undertaking prompt and proportionate enforcement actions against any commercial electronic message senders contravening the UEMO," the spokesman stressed.

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:28


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