Airplanes and Airports: We have advised a number of people who have got into difficulties in airplanes or at the airport and are alleged to have breached the provisions of the Aviation Security Ordinance, Chapter 494. The allegations may be in relation to unruly behaviour on an aircraft, intoxication on an aircraft, or obstructing crew. If you are arrested as a result of something that happened on an aircraft coming to Hong Kong, or at Hong Kong International Airport itself, you will most likely be detained in the Airport Police Station pending the investigation. Our lawyers can attend quickly at the Airport Police Station to advise and assist you if you are detained there. If you are charged with an offence it is probable that you will be asked to appear at West Kowloon Magistrates Court. Our lawyers frequently represent defendants in this Court.
Animals: In certain situations, Hong Kong law imposes criminal liabilities on the owners of cats and dogs. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Hong Kong Police have powers under the Dogs and Cats Ordinance, Chapter 167 to seize and detain pets and to apply to a court to make an order that a dog be destroyed or kept under control. There are also potential penalties for pet owners under the Rabies Ordinance Chapter 421. We have advised pet owners and charities in these matters and have defended a number of individuals in prosecutions brought by the AFCD.
Computer Crime: The law on crimes relating to computers is to be found in the Telecommunications Ordinance Cap 106, the Crimes Ordinance Cap 200 and the Theft Ordinance Cap 106. Perhaps the most oft used law is section 161 of the Crimes Ordinance Cap. 200 which governs dishonest access to a computer. Before studying law, our partner Eric Seto acquired a Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology and Accounting at the University of Western Australia. He also subsequently obtained a post-graduate degree in Information Management. We can provide experienced legal and technical understanding of this area of the law. See also Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB)
Copyright Offences: The Copyright Ordinance, Cap 528 addresses copyright protection in Hong Kong and creates civil and criminal liabilities and defences in respect of copyright infringement. Copyright only subsists in a literary, artistic, musical or dramatic work of art if it is original. The main offences are making for sale, importing, exporting, selling letting or hiring, exhibiting, distribution of, or possession with a view to sale of an infringing copyright article under section 118 of the Ordinance. There are also offences in relation to those who possess infringing copies of computer programs, movies, television dramas, musical sound recordings or music videos for the purpose of trade or business and for those who regularly make for distribution infringing copyrighted articles The Copyright Ordinance allows for fines and imprisonment at various levels depending on the type of offence committed as does the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, Cap 544. Our lawyers represent clients in these courts on a daily basis. In the lower courts we often represent clients without Counsel. However we also regularly instruct barristers (Counsel) working as a team to defend our clients.
Criminal Damage: The offence of criminal damage is found at section 60(1) of the Crimes Ordinance Cap 200. If charged under this section the case is most likely to be brought up in the Magistrates Courts. If the damage is minor and it is a first offence it may be possible to ask the Prosecution to consider a BIND OVER. The section can also be used in situations where a person is alleged to have altered or erased data on a computer.
Criminal Intimidation: Under section 24 of the Crimes Ordinance, Cap 200, a person who threatens any other person or third party with injury to person, property or reputation with the intention to alarm that person or cause that person to do something he is not legally bound to do commits an offence.
Customs and Excise Investigations and Prosecutions: The mission of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department is to protect Hong Kong against smuggling; to protect and collect revenue on dutiable goods; to detect and deter trafficking in and use of dangerous drugs; to protect intellectual property rights; to protect consumer interests; to protect and facilitate legitimate trade and industry; and to uphold Hong Kong’s trading integrity. Thus, if you arrive at Hong Kong International Airport you will first pass an Immigration Department checkpoint. After collecting your baggage you then pass through a Customs and Excise control point. The Customs and Excise Department have the power to inspect baggage of people coming into Hong Kong. The Customs and Excise Department is the only department responsible for investigating Copyright Offences (see above) and Trademark Offences (see below). Anti-smuggling investigations (mainly directed at cigarettes and fuel) arise from the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance Cap 109.
(1) Possession of Firearms / Arms. Please see HKSAR v Sin Ka-leung DCCC 50/2015
(2) Possession of an Imitation Firearm contrary to section 20 of the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance, Cap 238
(3) Possession of Offensive Weapon in a public place contrary to section 33(1) of the Public Order Ordinance, Cap 245 OR section 17 of the Summary Offences Ordinance, Cap 228 OR prohibited weapons under section 4 of the Weapons Ordinance, Cap. 217 and
(4) Possession of a Stun Gun contrary to section 13 of the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance Cap 238
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department: The FEHD is tasked with ensuring that food for sale in Hong Kong is fit and safe for consumption. So, the FEHD monitors restaurant licensing procedures and the granting of licenses for fresh provision shops, restaurants, bakeries and canteens. We represent those establishments in the application process and also where the FEHD raise requisitions in respect of the application. Sometimes after an inspection, the FEHD initiates a prosecution (in 2012 there were 4231 such prosecutions of licensed food premises). We represent restaurants in these matters and can advise in the application process and in any prosecution on information laid by the FEHD. See also Liquor Licensing
Inland Revenue Offences: The Inland Revenue Ordinance Cap 112 creates a number of offences giving rise to prosecution. They include making incorrect returns without reasonable excuse; failing to submit a return in time; giving incorrect information to the IR; wilfully and with intent evading tax; and failure to keep proper accounting records. Some offences attract fines. Others can result in imprisonment. We have experience in dealing with Inland Revenue investigations and prosecutions.
Labour Department Prosecutions: Construction companies are often faced with the threat of Prosecution following an inspection by the Labour Department. The main safety laws are found in the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, Cap 59 and the Construction Sites Safety Regulations, Cap 59I. Our lawyers have been advising and representing construction companies in these areas since 1995 and have defended construction companies in the Magistrates Courts, the usual venue for these matters.In addition, we have defended those prosecuted for failing to pay wages under sections 25, 63C, and 64B(1) the Employment Ordinance. Please see (1) THE QUEEN -v- THE BCJ JOINT VENTURE HCMA 47/1997 (2) HKSAR – v- LEADER CIVIL ENGINEERING CORPORATION LIMITED HCMA 226/2010 and (3) HKSAR -v- CHEUNG CHUN YUEN BARRY (張震遠) HCMA 277/2015
Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance Offences: The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance, Chapter 485 provides for the establishment of non-governmental mandatory provident fund schemes for the purpose of funding benefits on retirement, to provide for contributions to such schemes, to provide for the registration of such schemes, to provide for a regulatory regime in respect thereof, to provide for the creation of a Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority to oversee the administration and management of registered schemes, to exempt certain classes of persons from contributing to registered schemes, to provide for the approval of persons (other than public officers or statutory corporations) as trustees of registered schemes, to provide for the control and regulation of approved trustees, to regulate sales and marketing activities, and the giving of advice, in relation to registered schemes.
The Ordinance creates offences such as (1) Failure to enrol employees in an MPF scheme (2) Failure to pay mandatory contributions to trustee (3) Providing false or misleading information in monthly pay-records given to employees and (4) Providing false or misleading information to MPF trustees or MPFA. Our lawyers have acted for both employers and employees who are under investigation by the Authority. We also have experience in assisting those who are prosecuted by the Authority.
Marine Department Prosecutions: Hong Kong is one of the busiest container ports in the world, serving as an entreport for China and as a hub port for the South Asian Pacific region. Along with cargo and passenger throughput, it is also one of the major ports of the world. The Marine Department is responsible for all navigational matters in Hong Kong and the safety standards of all classes and types of vessel. We have acted for international and local clients investigated and/or prosecuted under various Ordinances and regulations as follows: Dangerous Goods Ordinance, Cap 295 Freight Containers (Safety) Ordinance, Cap 506 Merchant Shipping Ordinance, Cap 281 Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance, Cap 369 Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance, Cap 413 Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance, Cap 548
Perverting the Course Of Public Justice: This is a common law offence committed where a person embarks on a course of conduct which has a tendency to and is intended to pervert the course of public justice. Recently in Hong Kong a number of legal practitioners have found themselves involved with investigations into or charged with this offence. The offence may arise from acts done with the intention of concealing the fact that a crime has been committed or the identity of the person who committed an offence (e.g. swapping seats with a driver) or interfering with witnesses, exhibits or jurors. We were recently involved with an important case defending a barrister of many years experience at the Court of Final Appeal resulting in his acquittal.
Pyramid Selling: The Pyramid Schemes Prohibition Ordinance Cap 617 came into effect in 2012 and creates offences for both those who knowingly promote a pyramid scheme and those who participate in such a scheme. If a company is involved, this Ordinance can, where a director of that Company has been involved directly or has turned a blind eye, create criminal liabilities for that director. The maximum penalty is a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for 7 years.
Trade Mark and Trade Description Offences: The Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Cap 362 is the principal piece of legislation dealing with offences concerning the misuse of another party’s trademark. The Ordinance addresses, amongst other things, the use, in the course of sale or trade, of forged or falsified trademarks and the false application of a similar trademark calculated to deceive. The Ordinance also makes provision for defences to those facing a charge under the Ordinance. The most frequently encountered offence under this Ordinance is: Possession for Sale, Trade or Manufacture any goods to which any forged trade mark is applied contrary to section 9 (2) of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Cap 362
In addition, in July 2013 the Trade Descriptions Ordinance was amended to include new measures designed to enhance consumer protection. These new offences include false trade descriptions of services or goods; misleading omissions and aggressive commercial practices; bait advertising & bait and switch; and wrongly accepting payment. If the Customs and Excise Department is investigating you or your company in respect of these matters we have experience in advising on sections 13D to 13I of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance and on the guidelines, solutions and defences provided for in the Ordinance.
Surrogacy: Under section 17 of the Human Reproductive Technology Ordinance, Chapter 561, it is unlawful to enter into a ‘commercial` surrogacy arrangement in or outside of Hong Kong. The Ordinance, which became law in 2000, also regulates reproductive technology procedures and matters incidental to human reproductive technology including the licensing of embryo research and the storage of gametes and embryos. Our lawyers have advised both gay and straight couples on various aspects of this Ordinance sometimes in conjunction with immigration laws. Those seeking to obtain a dependency visa for their child may encounter problems as a result of the Ordinance. We are able to assist you in understanding your rights and obligations and how the Ordinance operates with particular reference to the Department of Immigration and the Police.
Unlicensed Guesthouses: With the advent of AirBNB and other platforms the Home Affairs Department has launched a number of under cover operations to seek out those that contravene the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, Cap.349. Section 5A(1) of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance stipulates that if any premises are a hotel or guesthouse while no licence is in force for the premises, each of the owners and tenants of the premises commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500,000 and three years’ imprisonment. A six-month closure order may also be issued for the premises involved in a repeated offence.
We have advised and assisted in the investigation and prosecution of those alleged to have committed offence(s) under this Ordinance.
The above emergency hotline is intended for clients who are in need of urgent legal representation outwith office hours.
During office hours, we encourage you to make an appointment for an initial consultation. You can either call one of our lawyers directly or e-mail us your contact details with a brief description of the nature of your enquiry. We will contact you shortly after receipt of your enquiry.
All information contained in our entire website is strictly for informational purposes only, it is neither legal advice nor a substitute for legal advice.