Gym breaches privacy of members
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has accused the California Fitness gym chain of breaching the privacy of its members. The commissioner is concerned the chain has been storing some 200,000 members’ full birth dates, as well as copies of their identification documents. He said on Thursday he did not object to including members’ HKID card numbers in formal gym contracts, but said it was unnecessary to have full copies of people’s HKID cards or home visit permits. The fitness center said collecting such information was necessary to verify the performance of their sales staff when allocating bonuses. But the commissioner said the center could have made phone calls instead. He urged the center to implement changes to lower the risk of identity theft. The center said it would take up the matter with the Administrative Appeal Board. HK$3.2 million, which is believed to be the profits made from the illegal business, and confiscated assets worth more than HK$12 million. Au Chin-chau, from the New Territories South Regional Police Headquarters, told reporters on Thursday afternoon the crime ring provided one-stop services for sex workers once they had arrived in Hong Kong. To promote the business and attract more customers, the group hired make-up professionals and photographers to produce photos and videos of the sex workers, later to appear on their porn site and print publications. The 22 men and 92 women arrested face charges including violation of stay, organized prostitution and money laundering.