A Vietnamese court on Monday tried four students for posting online a sex video clip of a popular TV soap star that caused a scandal and led to the axing of her show.
The four, aged 22 to 26, were accused of "disseminating debauched cultural products," a charge that can carry up to 10 years' jail, in the one-day closed-door trial in the capital Hanoi, court officials said.
The clip, filmed on a mobile phone camera, showed actress Hoang Thuy Linh, now 20 years old, having sex with her boyfriend, who filmed the 16-minute clip last July and uploaded the file onto his laptop.
The boyfriend Vu Hoang Viet later lent his laptop to a friend, who copied the film and sent it to several of his friends, who then posted it online, sparking an Internet sensation in Vietnam.
The clip quickly found its way onto video-sharing websites and was downloaded by countless computer users, while illegal DVDs of the film were hawked by vendors on streets and at petrol stations.
In the dock at the Hanoi People's Court were Nguyen Huu Tai, who edited and posted the clip on his website in mid-October, and three friends, Vu Thi Thuy Linh, Vo Thanh Hiep and Nguyen Thu Linh.
Hoang Thuy Linh, who was the lead actress in "Vang Anh's Diary" -- a nightly teenage drama show dealing with morality and lifestyle issues -- found herself at the centre of a storm as angry parents called for her to be sacked.
State-run Vietnam Television within days broadcast an interview with Linh, who offered a tearful apology to her fans, and then scrapped the popular show.