Online uncovering in Hongkong

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Online uncovering was primarily used by the law enforcement departments. For example, it helped the Hong Kong Police Force[1] to investigate the background information of suspects.[2] Driven by the prevalence of the Internet and different online forums, such as the Golden Forum, online uncovering becomes a social phenomenon and netizens use it to reveal the personal information of others through the online platform. This leads to the tarnishing of reputation of the victims. Online uncovering is a kind of cyber bullying.[3] With online uncovering, the personal information, like the occupation, family members, home address, and telephone numbers, of the victims will be disclosed without any permission, which causes a great nuisance to them. People may spread out one’s information to humiliate one, make one ashamed and infringe on one’s privacy.[4] Also, people tend to share videos of people’s misconduct in public to the Internet, stirring up discussions and debates, also online uncovering of the people in the videos.


Year Incidents Reasons
2013 $10 red pocket girl

She dissatisfied with the amount of pocket money her relative gave, and vented her anger on Facebook.[5]

2012 Haklam event

He claimed he is a member of triad society in city forum and the strange dressing and behavior had aroused public awareness.[6]

2012 $500 Material girl

She rejected people to come to her wedding if they only gave $500 for blessing.[7]

2010 Giving-seat boy

A teenager who claimed that he was a child although he was a secondary 5 student. He was blamed by netizens after his video of occupying seats unreasonably was uploaded on YouTube.[8]

2009 30% off material girl

A lady was dissatisfied unilaterally with the unreasonable pricing of building materials company. In an attempt to vent her anger on the Internet, she was doubted by many netizens and finally led to uncovering of her.[9]

2006 Uncle Bus Event He argued with other as other passengers dissatisfied with his loud voice on a KMB bus.[10][11]

Method Used[edit]

There are various uncovering methods. Most cases are attributed to the victims’ mismanagement of personal information online.[12]

Search Engine[edit]

Hackers will utilize engines such as Google to uncover the personal information through blogs, social networking websites or forums.

Software cracker[edit]

Hackers will uncover the IP address of the targeted person through interception software. They can also uncover personal information by discovering the Internet Services Provider of the IP address. Installing spyware and virus to the computer could misappropriate personal information either easily.

Social Engineering[edit]

Social Engineering means hackers tempt the target to disclose personal information via multiple approaches. They may also collect and gather information from the cyber friends of the target. Such actions may likely breach the law.


Some HK online forums such as Golden Forum have set the (Betray Friends page) to encourage netizens to post the photos of their fellows. But information disclosure is forbidden.

Impacts on Victims[edit]

Positive side[edit]

Most of the victims in online uncovering were doing something inappropriate, from maltreating animals to impolite actions. Through online uncovering, victims’ inappropriate actions would be pointed out. They would realize they were doing something wrong and make apologies or follow up actions. Just take the case of maltreating cat last year as an example. A student from City University maltreated his cat in hall and a picture was taken and posted on social networks. After the online uncovering, he made apology and promised maltreatments would not happen again.[13]

Negative side[edit]

After online uncovering, victims’ personal information would be found out and circulated on the internet; such as, telephone number, address and photos. They would be annoyed by nonstop phone calls or even recognized by others on the street and criticized them. These all made them face a high pressure and some even suffer from mental illness, the case of material girl $500 was one of the examples.[14]