updated 6/13/2005 8:25:51 AM ET 2005-06-13T12:25:51

Hong Kong plans to enact an anti-spam law next year to crack down on companies that send unsolicited e-mails or make automated telemarketing calls to consumers, an official has said.

The government has consulted with industry groups to craft a law that would combat junk faxes, e-mails, text messages and telemarketing calls.

Au Man-ho, director-general of the Telecommunications Authority, said in a statement Saturday that direct marketing companies using automated calling on an unsolicited basis "can be considered a spam problem."

However, Au said the law — to take effect at an unspecified date in 2006 — would not cover "manually made cold calls" to avoid interfering with normal business activities.

He said the issue still requires public discussion and that the government was working with fixed-line and mobile operators to create a code of practice for telemarketing.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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