BLOG – Top Ten Weirdest Hong Kong Laws

 1) Shouting or swearing in Ocean Park can land you a month in prison.

Hong Kong bylaws state that a visitor to Ocean Park may not use “obscene language”, “fly a kite”, use shoes “fitted with wheels” or “shout”. Lest they’ll find themselves spending a month in Shek Pik Prison (or, more likely, a fine).

2) The government may only allow transgender people to marry if they sever and rebuild their genitals.

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An amendment drafted by the Security Bureau is set to “write into law the government policy of recognising transgender people only after the removal of their genitals and construction of new ones”, according to the SCMP. Not all transgender people wish to undergo surgery that may leave them unable to bear children.

3) 7/11 may legally serve alcohol to children.

7/11 usually chooses not to, but all shops are legally able to sell bottles of vodka to 9-year-olds if they wish. The liquor licence required for bars and restaurants forbids serving alcohol to under 18s, but this does not extend to retailers (as it does in the mainland). There are also no public intoxication laws.

4) Public meetings of more than 30 people are illegal without permission from The Man.

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Image via Kin Cheung, AP

Under the guise of ‘public safety’ and ‘public order’, “a public procession consisting of more than 30 persons can only take place if the Police Commissioner has been notified a week in advance and the Commissioner has notified the organiser that he has no objection.” A ‘public procession’ can be anything organised with a ‘common purpose’.

5) You can be fired from your job because of who you love.

Equal Opportunity rules forbid employers discriminating on grounds of race, but not sexual orientation. It remains totally legal for any company, institution or school to hire and fire people based on who they choose to love or sleep with.

6) Have you got a licence for that dog?

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To avoid a fine of HK$10,000, you’d better have paperwork to go with your new pet. “According to the Rabies Regulation, Cap. 421A, dog keepers must apply for a dog licence for keeping any dog over the age of 5 months.

7) Ignoring the red man may land you in court.

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Image via

Risk walking on the red man, lingering on a zebra crossing or jumping a road barrier and regulation 33(6) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations will potentially land you a fine of $2,000.

8) Singing on the beach can win you a fortnight behind bars.

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Image via

Without written permission, the “singing of any song” on any ‘bathing beach’ can lead to a fine or 2 weeks in prison.

9) Your t-shirt is illegal.

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As GOD store recently discovered with their ‘14K‘ apparel, possessing ‘triad products’ is a violation of the law. Anyone seen wearing a t-shirt with logos or designs related to organised crime risk arrest. It is also illegal to pretend to be a triad member.

10) Prostitution is legal but brothels are not.

Anyone may legally charge for a private sexual encounter, though others are not allowed to profit from it. Also, Hong Kong law stipulates that it is illegal for two or more prostitutes to work in the same premises. This has led to a proliferation of sub-divided dwellings and some NGOs, such as Ziteng and Aids Concern, complain that being required to work alone endangers workers.

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10 thoughts on “BLOG – Top Ten Weirdest Hong Kong Laws

  • Steven Gibert

    #6 is germany is a bit worse, you have to pay a dog tax which depends on the size and race of your beloved pet but can easily cost around €200.

  • Steven Gibert

    #6 is germany is a bit worse, you have to pay a dog tax which depends on the size and race of your beloved pet but can easily cost around €200.

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  • Tony Giles

    I discovered, when wanting to adopt my wife’s 5-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, that Hong Kong law allows only a married couple to adopt a child.

    This means that the birth parent has to surrender the child for adoption, relinquishing parental rights, before she can be re-adopted.

    In theory, this means that if anything comes to light that the authorities might deem potentially detrimental to the child’s welfare (even something as trivial as a history of cannabis use, for example), she could effectively become a ward of the government, or a “judicial orphan”.

  • Adam Barnes

    Following the link for No 8 doesn’t lead to anything relevant. Or is the information buried somewhere in there?

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