HKU student who repeatedly filmed peer in the nude gets 18 months’ probation

Defendant Cody Jims Ha, 21, (L), and HKU (R). Photos: Social media and Wikimedia Commons

An allegedly “outstanding” HKU actuarial student who violated his female peer’s privacy by repeatedly filming her in the nude with a hidden camera has been sentenced to 18 months’ probation.

Cody Jims Ha, 21, plead guilty last month to three counts of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent, for which the maximum penalty is five years’ imprisonment. During sentencing at the Eastern Law Courts this morning, magistrate Bina Chainrai said she took into account that Ha was young, had no previous criminal record, and seemed unlikely to re-offend.

Chainrai handed Ha an 18-month probation order — during which he is required to receive counselling and perform community service — and ordered him to pay a HKD500 court fee, Ming Pao reports.

The defense claimed Ha had committed the crimes out of an “impulse” and submitted psychological reports which said the 21-year-old showed “symptoms of depression” due to pressure from his studies, internship, and looming professional examinations.

Ha recorded the videos in the undergraduate co-ed residential hall of St. John’s College between April and July last year. The victim, identified as X in court, knows Ha from living in the same halls as him, but said she was not familiar with him as they lived on separate floors.

X said she discovered a micro-camcorder on the bookshelf of her dorm room on July 7, 2016. On the camera’s memory card, X found videos of herself in the nude, and footage of Ha placing the equipment in her room.

X told her boyfriend, who also lived in the same halls, about the issue and reported the issue to the hall’s staff and warden. Upon confrontation, Ha reportedly told X’s boyfriend that there was “no need” for an investigation, and confessed to planting the camera.

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