Hong Kong lawmakers to study anti-spam law

The Hong Kong government has proposed wide-ranging laws to crack down on spam emails, with fines of up to HK$1 million ($128,000) for offenders, an AFP report said.

The report said the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill, to be debated by legislators later this year, proposed a system that would punish spam senders and allow email users to protect their computers from the scourge.

"The primary objective of the bill is to tackle unsolicited commercial electronic messages, including emails, fax messages, short messages, voice and video calls, so as to reduce the nuisance caused to the public," Trade Secretary Joseph Wong, quoted in the AFP report, said.

He said it would include an "opt-out" regime obliging senders to provide a Web link allowing recipients to cancel their inclusion on mail-out lists.

It would also provide for the telecom authority to keep a "do-not-call" list of email users who did not want to receive spam, the report said.

It would also seek to curb nuisance callers, of which telecom watchdogs said there were 3,600 complaints last year.

Companies found to have email-address harvesting software, a more serious offense, would be fined HK$1 million ($128,000), the report said.

Wong said the government would also seek cooperation with overseas authorities to punish spammers outside Hong Kong who sent their messages into the Chinese city, according to the report.