Court dismisses appeal over Facebook sentence

Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal rejects an application for leave to appeal against a sentence for giving unlicensed securities advice via the social networking site.
Court dismisses appeal over Facebook sentence

A Hong Kong court has dismissed an application from Lo Kam Chung to appeal against a sentence imposed on him for carrying on an unlicensed securities business via Facebook.

The Court of Final Appeal rejected the application because it could find no reasonable grounds for granting him leave to appeal.

Lo was convicted in the magistrates court last December of advising on securities via Facebook when he was not licensed by the city’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

He was fined $20,000 and given a community service order of 80 hours to be completed within 12 months. The fine was lowered when Lo appealed but the service order was upheld.

The court had found that between April and November 2010, Lo gave securities advice in the name of Peter Sun to paid subscribers to a private discussion group he had set up on Facebook.

The SFC identified three subscribers who paid subscription fees of $200-$300 per month to Peter Sun, but did not follow his advice.

“The investing public is at risk from unlicensed operators like Lo and it is fortunate in this case that the SFC’s action stopped Lo’s scheme before any investors suffered losses,” said the SFC in a statement published on its website.

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