Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Introduction to Crime, Law and Justice in Hong Kong

Introduction to Crime, Law and Justice in Hong Kong

Mark S. Gaylord
Danny Gittings
Harold Traver
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 272
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Introduction to Crime, Law and Justice in Hong Kong
    Book Description:

    An essential text for anyone interested in crime, law and justice in Hong Kong, this book offers the only comprehensive survey of all the major parts of Hong Kong's criminal justice system. It also provides an introduction to some key areas of the Hong Kong legal system, including the judiciary, criminal law and legal assistance. The book will appeal not only to social and political science students but also those studying for a number of law courses.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-42-4
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Mark S. Gaylord, Danny Gittings and Harold Traver
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 Introduction to Crime, Law and Justice in Hong Kong
    (pp. 1-16)
    Mark S. Gaylord, Danny Gittings and Harold Traver

    Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is large and complex enough to bewilder even many of those directly responsible for its administration. There are now so many departments, often with conflicting interests and goals, that it is difficult to understand the system as a whole. As a result, it is tempting to focus on, for example, the police or the judiciary and to deem such limited scope as defining the entirety. But important though both organizations are, there is far more to Hong Kong’s criminal justice system, as the different chapters in this book seek to demonstrate.

    When it comes to...

  6. 2 Criminal Law
    (pp. 17-34)
    Michael Jackson

    Hong Kong’s criminal justice system, as any criminal justice system, is concerned with processing persons accused of committing crimes. The process begins when a crime is committed or alleged and someone is subsequently charged with its commission. Once begun, the process generally continues until the accused is either acquitted or convicted and punished.

    Underpinning this process is the criminal law, which consists of the crimes (or “offences”) that are defined in Hong Kong and also the general principles of liability that dictate what must be proved before an accused can be convicted of any particular crime.¹ The purpose of this...

  7. 3 Counting Crime in Hong Kong
    (pp. 35-54)
    Yuet Wah CHEUNG and Nicole W. T. CHEUNG

    Is crime a serious problem in Hong Kong? What types of crime are most prevalent? Have crime patterns changed over time? Tentative answers to these questions are available from the statistics and reports regularly published by the Hong Kong Police Force and other government departments. However, most people prefer to rely on the media—newspapers, TV programs and movies—for their knowledge about crime. But how representative is their depiction of crime? Scholarly investigations of media crime coverage find that the news media present a distorted view: they over-report violent crime; they blame crime on immigrants; and they create a...

  8. 4 Hong Kong Police Force
    (pp. 55-76)
    Harold Traver

    The Hong Kong Police Force is the largest and most visible criminal justice agency in Hong Kong. Contrary to popular belief, however, the police devote only a small portion of their time and energy to fighting crime. The bulk of police work involves activities such as controlling traffic, providing directions, responding to emergencies, and resolving family and neighborhood disputes. In short, a great deal of police work is devoted to the relatively unglamorous task of maintaining order. In Hong Kong, police work also includes a number of ancillary services, among them the promotion of road safety, the production of public...

  9. 5 Customs and Excise Department
    (pp. 77-90)
    Mark S. Gaylord

    The origins of the Customs and Excise Department can be traced to 17 September 1909, when the Preventive Service was established as a branch of the Import and Export Department to enforce Hong Kong’s first liquor ordinance. The Preventive Service—five officers and 20 searchers—began operations that very evening by boarding and searching incoming river steamers. Soon thereafter, the Hong Kong and Kowloon Wharf and the Holt’s Wharf were bonded as King’s Warehouses and 19 companies were deemed licensed warehouses. Early regulations compelled all licensed warehouses to be fitted with a “Government Lock” to ensure their closing between 6...

  10. 6 Independent Commission Against Corruption
    (pp. 91-110)
    Ian McWalters and Anne Carver

    Within the space of a few decades Hong Kong has gone from being a society plagued by corruption to having one of the world’s cleanest public services. That is largely due to the success of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which has become one of the largest anti-corruption bodies in the world with an annual budget in excess of HK$600 million and a staff of more than 1,300 (ICAC, 2006a).

    Today, the ICAC is internationally respected, not just for its work in Hong Kong but also for the advice it offers others elsewhere who are also seeking to eradicate...

  11. 7 Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice
    (pp. 111-130)
    Simon N. M. Young

    This chapter outlines the structure and role of the Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The division plays an essential role in ensuring that proper decisions are made in relation to (1) the charging of persons with criminal offences, (2) the preparation of cases for prosecution, and (3) the conduct of criminal trials and appeals. The division has evolved since 1997, but many of the basic principles and policies that govern prosecution in a common law system have not changed. Similarly, the use of court prosecutors (many of whom lack formal legal qualifications) for cases in the Magistrates’...

  12. 8 Legal Assistance
    (pp. 131-146)
    P. Y. Lo

    An unrepresented defendant stands trial. Alone, he faces the prosecution, a lawyer backed by the vast machinery of the state.¹ Untrained in the law, the defendant is in a highly disadvantaged position: the criminal law and the rules of evidence require special knowledge, the questioning of witnesses requires trained skill, and the forensic evidence that can be presented at trial is increasingly varied and complex. Such a defendant is much more likely to suffer mistreatment and injustice, ranging from unreasonable refusal of bail to wrongful conviction.

    Historically, defense counsel has been limited to the representation of defendants at trial. Yet...

  13. 9 Hong Kong Judiciary
    (pp. 147-168)
    Danny Gittings

    What is the role of the judiciary in modern Hong Kong? For a concise summary, look no further than the comments of Hong Kong’s Chief Justice. Drawing on a declaration of principles signed by Chief Justices from across the Asia-Pacific region,¹ the Hon. Mr Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang has set out three main functions that the Hong Kong courts perform (Chief Justice, 1999):

    (1) to ensure that all persons are able to live securely under the Rule of Law;

    (2) to promote, within the proper limits of the judicial function, the observance and the attainment of human rights; and


  14. 10 Court Interpreters’ Office
    (pp. 169-184)
    Kwai Hang NG

    Imagine you are about to testify as a witness, or worse, as a defendant, in a criminal trial in the Court of First Instance. If you, however, as approximately 95% of Hong Kong residents, do not speak English as your usual language, you will most likely need the service of a court interpreter.¹

    The use of court interpreters in Hong Kong is not a new phenomenon. The common law system in Hong Kong is one of the most “interpreted” legal systems in the world. Ever since the establishment of the colonial legal system in 1842, court interpreters have been an...

  15. 11 Correctional Services Department
    (pp. 185-204)
    Karen Joe Laidler

    On 30 April 1841, Captain William Caine, colonial Hong Kong’s first Chief Magistrate, assumed responsibility for maintaining law and order, a broad portfolio encompassing police, courts, and prisons. As part of the Central Police Station Compound on Bailey Street, Victoria Prison was Hong Kong’s first prison and remained at the center of the local prison system until it closed in December 2005. For more than 164 years, Victoria Prison accommodated a wide variety of prisoners, reflecting broad social transformations and challenges in the territory. In its early days it held a colorful cast of characters: pirates, rogues, bandits, smugglers, debtors,...

  16. 12 Social Welfare Department
    (pp. 205-222)
    Francis Wing-lin Lee

    In a book devoted to the Hong Kong criminal justice system it may seem odd to find a chapter devoted to social welfare. Social work is most obviously associated with activities such as protecting neglected children, assisting the elderly, caring for the handicapped, aiding families in crisis, and providing services to socially disadvantaged members of society. What does this have to do with the administration of criminal justice? The answer is that, in most countries, the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders is also considered an important part of social work.

    Effective rehabilitation services for offenders require the incorporation of specially...

  17. 13 Cross-Border Relations in Criminal Matters
    (pp. 223-242)
    CHOY Dick Wan and FU Hualing

    The increasing social and economic integration of Hong Kong and the Mainland of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since reunification in 1997 has resulted in an upsurge in cross-border crime. Given that the prevention and detection of cross-border crime and the punishment of cross-border criminals impact the legal systems of both Hong Kong and the Mainland,¹ enhancing cooperation between criminal justice agencies on both sides of the border is vital. Nevertheless, despite more than ten years having passed since reunification, little progress has been achieved in respect of mutual legal assistance between Hong Kong and the Mainland: formal mechanisms...

  18. Appendix Hong Kong’s Principal Criminal Ordinances and Common Law Offences
    (pp. 243-250)
    Michael Jackson
  19. Index
    (pp. 251-262)