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Internet censorship in Hong Kong refers to the law that criminalizes the distribution of certain materials, particularly child pornography, obscene images and pirated materials. Contrary to the Mainland China, freedom of expression is well protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights.[1] No websites, regardless of its political views, are blocked. Anyone shall not require any license for operating a website.

History and law

Crimes Ordinance

Hong Kong does not, as yet, have developed legislation dealing with computer crimes. Such legislation as there is can be found in section 161 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap 200), which provides that it is an offence to obtain access to a computer:

  • With an intent to commit an offence;
  • With a dishonest intent to deceive;
  • With a view to gain for oneself or another; or
  • With a dishonest intent to cause loss to another.

Conviction upon indictment of any of these offences carries a maximum punishment of five years.

This section was enacted in 1993 before the explosion in the Internet and e-commerce generally. The section is not therefore well suited to cover the types of computer launched attacks that we have seen recently on the world stage.

There is legislation in the pipeline (Criminal Jurisdiction Ordinance (Amendment of Section 2(2)) Order 2002, which is still being debated) which will enable Hong Kong courts to exercise jurisdiction over the offences of

  • unauthorised access to a computer;
  • criminal damage relating to the misuse of a computer; and
  • access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent

when these crimes are committed or planned outside the geographical boundaries of Hong Kong. .[2]

Internet pornography

Pursuant to the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap 390), it is an offence to publish an obscene article. Publication covers distribution, circulation, selling, hiring, giving, or lending the obscene article. Distribution by email would fall within the definition of distribution, as would the placing of an obscene article on a web site. It should also be noted that distribution does not require any element of financial gain to be present. The definition of article includes "anything consisting of or containing material to be read or looked at or both read and looked at, any sound recording, and any film, video-tape, disc or other record of a picture or pictures." The article will be considered obscene if, by reason by its obscenity, "it is not suitable to be published by any person." Obscenity includes "violence, depravity and repulsiveness". The penalty for this offence is up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$1,000,000.[3]

Instances of censorship

Internet censorship of March 1995

In March 1995, Hong Kong police raided all but one of the pioneering local ISPs offering dialup service, confiscated their servers and records and shut them down for a week blocking the access of 5000 to 8000 of Hong Kong's early internet adopters.[4] The heavy-handed raids were thought to be instigated by Supernet (the one ISP not shut down) and coordinated by the Office of Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) working with the Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB) on the premise that the ISPs were operating without applying for a then-obscure Public Non-Exclusive Telecommunications Service (PNETS) License. Companies shut down were: Hong Kong Internet & Gateway Services (HKIGS), Hong Kong Link InfoLink Ilink, Internet Online Hong Kong, Cybernet, Internet Connections and Asia Online.

Internet censorship of January 2008

On 27 January 2008, The Hong Kong Police Force arrested suspects who were accused of uploading pornographic images after a multi-billion entertainment company filed a complaint about these photos available on the internet having been fabricated and might charge the offender for defamation. The obscene images were of the local pop-stars/actresses. The suspect first arrested was not qualified for a bail for the track record of credit card debts at HK$500,000 (approximately US$64,100). The others were arrested for the collection of these obscene images stored in their computers. Though it is often hard to track as internet IPs are very similar (nearly the same) in Hong Kong. .[5]

See also


  1. Hong Kong Bill of Rights
  2. "[1]." Crime (Hong Kong law)-Crimes Ordinance. Retrieved on 2008‑02‑04.
  3. "[2]." Crime (Hong Kong law)-Internet pornography. Retrieved on 2008‑02‑04.
  4. Research and Library Services Division Hong Kong Legislative Council Secretariat December 1995 Report"[3]." Policy on Internet Access Providers and On-line Service Providers in Overseas Countries Retrieved on 2008-16-04.
  5. SCMP. "[4]." Suspect in obscene Net photos held Retrieved on 2008-02-04.

External links

Internet censorship by country

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Internet censorship in Hong Kong, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Ohconfucius Search for "Internet censorship in Hong Kong" on Google
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