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Shoe store wins apology over Chen story

EDISON Chen, the Hong Kong pop star at the center of an Internet sex scandal last year, might have drawn some comfort yesterday when a shoe store in which he is a major investor won a lawsuit against a newspaper for damage to its reputation.

The Luwan District People's Court ordered the Nanjing-based Modern Express to apologize for its false report about the ACU store in Shanghai.

Chen quit the Hong Kong entertainment industry after explicit pictures he took of various women, including pop singers and film stars, were circulated on the Internet early last year.

The shoe store said that Modern Express published a report on April 10 saying the shop on Changle Road was going to close because of the scandal. The report described business as "sluggish" and the glass doors "covered with thick ash." Shoes priced at 2,000 yuan (US$292.4) from 3,000 yuan were being sold at little more than 300 yuan but even then few customers were attracted, the report said.

The newspaper also quoted a customer as saying she wouldn't buy shoes there because of the scandal.

The store accused the paper of tarnishing its reputation since the descriptions were all false.

The newspaper argued that there were no serious mistakes in the report but admitted it was improper to use the words "going to be closed down." It denied it had tarnished the store's reputation or caused any serious consequences.

However, the court believed the untruthful descriptions were enough to damage the store's reputation and said the newspaper should apologize.

But it rejected a claim for 15,000 yuan in lawyers' costs, saying a public apology was sufficient.


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