The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) welcomed the conviction by the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts today (10 January 2017) of a commercial facsimile sender (the Sender) of three offences of contravention of the enforcement notice served on him for sending commercial electronic messages in contravention of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Ordinance (Cap. 593) (UEMO). The Magistrates' Courts imposed a fine of $7,500 on the Sender for committing the offences. The Magistrates' Courts also ordered the Sender to pay to the Communications Authority (CA) costs and expenses of the investigation totaling $60,000.
A spokesperson for OFCA said, "We received reports from members of the public alleging that the Sender had been sending commercial facsimile messages promoting design and decoration services that did not contain his name or address. We also received reports alleging that the Sender continued to send facsimile messages to the recipients who had sent unsubscribe requests to him, or that the Sender's unsubscribe facility had been disconnected and the recipients of the Sender's facsimile messages could not send unsubscribe requests to him.
"After investigation, we served an enforcement notice on the Sender in October 2015 pursuant to section 38 of the UEMO, requiring him to stop sending further facsimile messages in contravention of the UEMO. However, we continued to receive reports on sending of commercial facsimile messages by the Sender, suggesting that he had failed to comply with the enforcement notice. We therefore initiated prosecution against the Sender for contravening section 39 of the UEMO."
The UEMO regulates the sending of commercial electronic messages that have a "Hong Kong link" over a public telecommunications service to an electronic address. Senders of commercial electronic messages are required to comply with the rules about sending such messages including, among other things, providing accurate sender information and an unsubscribe facility in the message, honouring unsubscribe requests from recipients of messages, and not sending commercial electronic messages to the numbers registered in the relevant do-not-call register.
According to section 38 of the UEMO, where a person is contravening the rules about sending commercial electronic messages, or has done so and is likely to continue or repeat the contravention, an enforcement notice may be served directing that person to remedy the contravention. Any person who contravenes an enforcement notice served on him commits an offence under section 39 of the UEMO and is liable to a fine of $100,000 on the first conviction and to a fine of $500,000 on the second or subsequent conviction. According to section 43 of the UEMO, the court may order a person, who is convicted of an offence under section 39 of the UEMO on a prosecution instituted as a result of an investigation by the CA, to pay to the CA the whole or a part of the costs and expenses of that investigation.
"We would like to remind all senders of commercial electronic messages to comply with the requirements under the UEMO. OFCA will continue to investigate suspected cases of contravention and is committed to undertaking prompt enforcement actions against any senders contravening the UEMO," the spokesperson stressed.
Office of the Communications Authority
10 January 2017