Hong Kong singer and actor Edison Chen
Hong Kong singer and actor Edison Chen said on Thursday he would step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry to "heal himself", in his first public appearance since a sex scandal broke.
Hong Kong police said some 1,300 private shots of Chen in bed with at least half a dozen female celebrities had been copied by the staff of a computer repair shop from a faulty laptop believed to belong to Chen, sparking off a media frenzy.
The Canada-born Chen, a hip hop artist and Asian film star who has appeared in films such as Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong triad film which inspired Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film "The Departed", admitted for the first time that most of the pictures circulating on the Internet had been taken by him.
"These photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone," the 27-year-old said in a calm voice amid a flood of camera flashes from the hundreds of reporters gathered.
Chen didn't identify the women in the photos, which appear to show him and several female stars -- including singer Gillian Chung and actress Cecilia Cheung -- either engaged in sex acts or in sexually suggestive poses. "
The scandal has dominated headlines in Hong Kong for weeks, with the images widely circulated over the Internet.
Chen, 27, who returned to Hong Kong from the US on Thursday, apologized profusely for the photos and said he would take an indefinite break from the Hong Kong entertainment industry after fulfilling his outstanding contracts.
"I'm deeply saddened by this. And I apologize that everyone had to go through this," he said.
"I have failed as a role model. However I wish that this matter will teach everyone a lesson."
He said in a brief statement he would fulfil existing commitments before stepping down "indefinitely". He added that he would dedicate himself to charity and community work.
"I've decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul."
Hong Kong police have so far made 10 arrests in connection with the scandal.