The scandal began about three weeks ago, when private photographs that belonged to Chen surfaced on the Internet. The photos, stolen off his computer when he took it in for repairs, showed Chen and several different paramours, including actresses Cecilia Cheung (The Promise) and Gillian Chung (Twins Mission), in various stages of undress; some were sexually explicit. "I admit that most of the photographs being circulated on the Internet were taken by me," Chen said at a press conference, according to Variety. "But these photographs were very private, not to be shown to people." In front of hundreds of journalists and camera crews assembled for the press conference, Chen "apologized profusely to the 'ladies' in the pics, his parents and to the people of Hong Kong."
Chen began his career with glamorous but ineffective performances, but has grown steadily as an actor, to the point where he was very convincing as a desperate assassin in Dog Eat Dog, one of my favorite films from 2006. He's also appeared in the very popular Infernal Affairs trilogy, among many other roles, and reportedly filmed a bit part in the upcoming Batman sequel, The Dark Knight. Even though his profile outside Asia has been limited, he had a bright future ahead of him. "I will be away from Hong Kong entertainment indefinitely," he said. "There is no time frame," leaving open the possibility that he will come out of retirement one day. Meanwhile, the actresses must decide how to deal with the damage to their careers and reputations.