HONG KONG Popular actor and singer Edison Chen apologized on Monday after images appearing to show the Hong Kong star partially nude in the company of several starlets leaked onto the Internet.
In a video statement Chen, 27, called the postings of the photographs "intentionally hurtful and malicious."
"I hereby use this opportunity to apologize to anyone who has been affected by this strange, strange ordeal," Chen said.
Police believe the images were copied from Chen's computer when it was serviced last year.
"If you ever downloaded any of these images, please do not forward them to anyone ... If you are still in possession of these images, I urge you to please destroy them immediately," a subdued-looking Chen added in the video.
The photographs, which appear to show Chen in bed with singer Gillian Chung, along with suggestive images of actress Cecilia Cheung, were recently posted online, sparking a media frenzy in the celebrity-mad former British colony.
Hong Kong police said some 1,300 private shots of celebrities had been stolen from a faulty personal computer.
"A person had taken his computer to be fixed, but during the maintenance period, someone used dishonest means to take some information from the computer and distributed this information indiscriminately to others," assistant police commissioner Wong Fook-chuen told reporters.
While the police gave no specific names, Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper reported the photographs belonged to Chen.
"A person in the shop found hidden inside (Chen's) computer, confidential nude pictures of naked female stars, which were then secretly copied," Ming Pao reported, quoting an anonymous source.
The computer shop was subsequently raided by police officers in a widening investigation across the territory, which has led to eight arrests for infringement of obscene material laws, and the seizure of over 1,000 explicit images, including four women whom were public figures, the police said.
Hong Kong's police commissioner, Tang King-shing, said the case was being treated seriously and warned the possession and distribution of such images might be illegal.
(Editing by Matthew Jones)