The penalty for Internet crimes was in the spotlight Sunday at the weekly Macau Forum show – a one-hour open-air debate programme hosted by government broadcaster TDM – as some audience members suggested that the current punishment was not harsh enough.
In the programme in Areia Preta Park, several audience members – mostly pupils – wanted more information about personal data protection, hacking, and how the government plans to improve Web security.
According to The Macau Post Daily, one member of the audience pointed out that the maximum penalty for hacking into other people’s computers is a two-year prison sentence, saying that it is light compared to Hong Kong where an offender could be jailed for up to five years.
The pupil wanted to know if the government has any plans to increase the penalty for crimes committed online.
Replying to the questions, Eric Choi Ian Fai, a guest speaker at the forum who serves as a chief criminal investigator in the Judiciary Police (PJ) Information Technology Crimes Division, hinted that the government would consider toughening the penalty if necessary.
Choi also said that 308 suspected IT crimes were investigated by the Judiciary Police from June last year to May this year, a 78 percent increase from the 173 cases from June 2011 to May last year. These crimes included Internet scams, stealing bank and credit card information, hacking into other people’s computers and stealing personal data.
Regarding the 34 local emails that were recently hacked from Hong Kong and the United States, Choi said police had asked the Hong Kong and US authorities about the incident but only received a reply from Hong Kong so far, promising to provide assistance in tackling the matter.(macaunews)