Laws

HONG KONG

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assembly, Right of
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
  Censorship
Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Discrimination
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
  Hate Crimes
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
  Military
Parenting
Partners
Property
Sodomy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

In October 2006, Hong Kong's government caved in to a challenge against its gay sex laws, effectively lowering the homosexual age of consent from 21 to 16 [R1.1]

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 24 August 2005, Judge Hartmann ruled that laws against gay sex - including one that demands a life sentence for men under 21 who engage in sodomy - are unconstitutional and discriminatory [C2.2], [R2.1]

R1.1 IOL (South Africa), World News: Hong Kong Drops Challenge Against Gay Sex Law 17 OCT 06
C2.2 Judgment: Leung TC William Roy v. Secretary for Justice HCAL 160/2004, 24 AUG 05
R2.1 Leading the Charge: Judge: Gay Sex Laws in Hong Kong Illegal 24 AUG 05
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

Artificial insemination treatment for single women and women in a same-sex relationship is not permitted [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 109.64kb NOV 08
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

On 21 November 2016, it was reported that in June a diplomatic note from the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office granted an exception to allow same-sex spouses of consular staff holding diplomatic or official passports and with support of local consulates, to stay in Hong Kong beyond the usual limits [R1.4].

On 26 September 2016, it was reported that two transgender women were told by immigration officers that they did not believe they were there to shop and sight see and that they did not satisfy them as to the purpose of their trip. The pair were then asked but refused to sign documents concerning their gender and were reportedly asked by officers if they were ''cut already'', referring to their gender re-assignment surgery [R1.3].

In July 2011, partners of gay professional reportedly may obtain an extended visitor's visa or de facto relationship visa, allowing the partners of homosexuals who have a work visa to stay as long as they remain in the relationship. Gay partners may not work, do not get an ID card or qualify for permanent residency after seven years. The visa must be renewed at least every six months [R1.2].


The Immigration Department reportedly accepts applications for changes related to a person's identity, including gender changes, on Hong Kong identity cards and passports [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 11 March 2016, Judge Thomas Au in the High Court, by way of judicial review, upheld the decision of the Director of Immigration refusing to grant British National QT a dependant visa to enter and stay in Hong Kong as a dependant of her sponsoring same-sex civil partner, who is working in Hong Kong under an employment visa, on the basis that QT was not the ''spouse'' of her same-sex civil partner as ''spouse'' refers only to one whose marriage is a heterosexual and monogamous marriage. The couple entered into a civil partnership in Britain in 2011 [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.4 fridae: Hong Kong govt made same-sex marriage visa exceptions 21 NOV 16
R1.3 fridae: Two transgender women refused entry at HK airport 26 SEP 16
R1.2 TimesLive: Gay couples win Hong Kong visa concession 10 JUL 11
R1.1 AsiaTimes Online: Hong Kong plays transgender catch-up 17 NOV 09
C2.2 Judgment: QT v. Director of Immigration No. 124 of 2014, 11 MAR 16
R2.1 France24: British lesbian loses Hong Kong legal bid 11 MAR 16
Censorship, Freedom of Expression, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 31 July 2013, the Court of Appeal granted the appeal in T v Commissioner of Police (CACV 244/2012), vindicating a young gay activist's challenge to the misuse by the police of the Place of Public Entertainment Ordinance at the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) demonstration in 2011 [C1.3], [R1.2].

Previously:

On 15 July 2012, Mr Justice Lam in the Court of First Instance of the High Court dismissed a case seeking a declaration from the High Court that the complainant's rights of assembly, procession and expression under the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights were infringed by police action preventing a dance programme performed on the street as part of the celebration of IDAHO in May 2011. Reference HCAL 102/2011 [R1.1].

C1.3 Reason for Judgment: T v Commissioner of Police CACV 244/2012, 18 SEP 13
R1.2 Facebook: Court of Appeal overturns restriction on right to demonstrate 31 JUL 13
R1.1 Fridae: Hong Kong court dismisses case in which man sought to challenge police action at IDAHO 2011 25 JUL 12
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

Hong Kong currently has three Equal Opportunities Ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender, family status and disability [R1.6]. There is no legislation covering sexual orientation, Quaere "gender identity" not included.

The law in the Special Administrative Region offers no formal protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation [R1.5].


On 26 September 2016, it was reported that two transgender women were told by immigration officers that they did not believe they were there to shop and sight see and that they did not satisfy them as to the purpose of their trip. The pair were then asked but refused to sign documents concerning their gender and were reportedly asked by officers if they were ''cut already'', referring to their gender re-assignment surgery [R1.4].

In March 1996, the Home Affairs Bureau drafted a 60+ page consultation paper entitled "Equal Opportunities: A Study on Discrimination on the Ground of Sexual Orientation" and after further submissions published the paper in June 1996 [R1.3], [R1.2].

It was reported that the Home Affairs Panel of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region had initiated discussion and consultation regarding the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation which could possibly lead to legislative protection. However, the Hong Kong government intervened to indicate its objections to this possibility.

In August 2001, the Legislative Council (LegCo) in Hong Kong held a public hearing about the desirability of legal measures to provide protection on the ground of sexual orientation (such as an equal opportunity bill, domestic partnership, equality in age of consent, etc.) [R1.1]. The outcome is unknown.

R1.6 South China Post: Social Acceptance Not Enough, Equal Rights for Gays Must be Next 12 AUG 02
R1.5 IGLHRC Alert/China: Support Hong Kong Tongzhi Activists' Struggle for anti-discrimination legislation 10 DEC 00
R1.4 fridae: Two transgender women refused entry at HK airport 26 SEP 16
R1.3 Legislative Council Panel on Home Affairs: Discrimination on the Ground of Sexual Orientation 17 NOV 00
R1.2 Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities: Draft response to Panel on Home Affairs paper DEC 00
R1.1 IGLHRC Update: "China: Support Anti-Discrimination Legislation in Hong Kong" 16 AUG 01

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Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

On 26 September 2016, it was reported that two transgender women were told by immigration officers that they did not believe they were there to shop and sight see and that they did not satisfy them as to the purpose of their trip. The pair were then asked but refused to sign documents concerning their gender and were reportedly asked by officers if they were ''cut already'', referring to their gender re-assignment surgery [R1.3].

On 22 October 2014, the Legislative Council voted against the government's Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 that seeks to revise the Marriage Ordinance after the Court of Final Appeal ruled in July [sic 13 May 2013 - see below: Marriage - Courts & Tribunals at [C2.6], R2.5] last year that a transgender woman, W, could marry her boyfriend as it was unconstitutional to ban her from doing so. Pan-democrats objected to the bill's requirement that a person must undergo full gender reassignment surgery to be considered transgender [R1.2].

The Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance, prevents a person from changing his or her sex on a birth certificate, despite government funding of both the gender therapy and reassignment surgery [R1.1].

R1.3 fridae: Two transgender women refused entry at HK airport 26 SEP 16
R1.2 SouthChinaMorningPost: Transgender marriage law vetoed by Legco 23 OCT 14
R1.1 AsiaTimes Online: Hong Kong plays transgender catch-up 17 NOV 09
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1.

Region

In November 2011, the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists made an announcement on sexual orientation and the efficacy of faith-based 'therapies' – making it the first psychiatric or psychological professional body in Asia known to have done so. The College opines that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder and that at present, no sound scientific and clinical evidence supporting the benefits of attempts to alter sexual orientation [R1.2].

In 1991, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalized [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 20 September 2006, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of Hartmann J [C2.3].

On 24 August 2005, Judge Hartmann ruled that laws against gay sex - including one that demands a life sentence for men under 21 who engage in sodomy - are unconstitutional and discriminatory [C2.2], [R2.1]

R1.2 fridæ: Homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder: Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists 27 DEC 11
R1.1 IOL (South Africa), World News: Hong Kong Drops Challenge Against Gay Sex Law 17 OCT 06
C2.3 Judgment: Leung TC William Roy v. Secretary for Justice CACV317/2005, 20 SEP 06
C2.2 Judgment: Leung TC William Roy v. Secretary for Justice HCAL 160/2004, 24 AUG 05
R2.1 Leading the Charge: Judge: Gay Sex Laws in Hong Kong Illegal 24 AUG 05
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

Hong Kong law does not allow same-sex marriage [R2.1].


On 21 November 2016, it was reported that in June a diplomatic note from the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office granted an exception to allow same-sex spouses of consular staff holding diplomatic or official passports and with support of local consulates, to stay in Hong Kong beyond the usual limits [R1.4].

On 22 October 2014, the motion for the Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 to be read for the second time did not pass the Legislative Council (LegCo), with 11 votes in favour, 40 votes against and five votes abstaining [R1.3].

On 17 July 2014, one year after the Court of Final Appeal order came into effect, giving m2f transgender W the right to get married [C2.6], [R2.5], transsexuals in Hong Kong may now also marry.

On 09 July 2014, the Legislative Council was expected to resume its second and third reading of the Marriage (Amendment) Bill, gazetted in February to implement the order of the Court of Final Appeal, which provides that transsexuals have the right to marry in their affirmed gender, after having completed sex reassignment surgery [R1.2].

On 08 June 2014, the local government was reported to have banned the British Consulate in Hong Kong from performing same-sex marriages, despite permission in mainland China. Consulates in Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam can marry same-sex couples [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 16 December 2016, the High Court was reported to have reserved judgment in the judicial review of the case of Leung Chun-kwong, whose NZ partner Scott Paul Adams, who he married in New Zealand, was denied medical and dental services. He also complained he can't enjoy the same tax incentives as married heterosexual couples [R2.7].

On 13 May 2013, the Court of Final Appeal, ruling 4-1 in W v. Registrar of Marriages, found that the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights protected the right to marry and allowing a transgender woman to marry her boyfriend, effective in 12 months to give the government time to change marriage laws [C2.6], [R2.5].

On 01 March 2012, a transgender woman seeking to overturn a legal ban on marrying her boyfriend, reportedly won the battle to take the case to Hong Kong's highest court [R2.4].

On 25 November 2011, the 3-judge Court of Appeal denied "W", who had a male-to-female sex change operation in 2008, the right to marry her boyfriend. The case was expected to go to the Court of Final Appeal [R2.3].

Previously:

On 05 October 2010, High Court Judge Andrew Cheung refused permission for post-operative trans woman "W" to marry, ruling that he saw no evidence to support "a shifted societal consensus in present day Hong Kong regarding marriage to encompass a postoperative transsexual" [R2.2].

In November 2009, the High Court was to judicially review the Registrar of Marriage's refusal to recognize the changed gender of a post-operative transgender woman who sued the city of Hong Kong for the right to marry a man [R2.1].

R1.4 fridae: Hong Kong govt made same-sex marriage visa exceptions 21 NOV 16
R1.3 7th Space: Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2014 not passed by Legislative Council 22 OCT 14
R1.2 SouthChinaMorningPost: Change for better, or worse? Clearing up confusion over marriage bill rights 30 JUN 14
R1.1 PinkNews: British consulate banned from performing same-sex marriages 08 JUN 14
R2.7 TheStandard: High Court reserves judgment on same-sex spouse benefits 16 DEC 16
C2.6 Judgment: W v. Registrar of Marriages FACV No. 4 of 2012 word 135.0kb, 13 MAY 13
R2.5 fridæ: Hong Kong transgender woman wins right to marry 13 MAY 13
R2.4 RTHK: Top court to hear transgender case 01 MAR 12
R2.3 M&C: Transsexual seeks Hong Kong court ruling for right to marry 26 NOV 11
R2.2 365Gay.com: Hong Kong transgender woman loses marriage case 05 OCT 10
R2.1 AsiaTimes Online: Hong Kong plays transgender catch-up 17 NOV 09
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Region

On 16 December 2009, the Legislative Council approved legislation on a third reading, amending its Domestic Violence Ordinance to include same-sex cohabitants [R1.4].

The "Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Violence Ordinance" commenced on 01 January 2010 [L1.3], [R1.2].

In June 2009, the Government announced that the Domestic Violence Ordinance will remove all references to marriage or gender and refer to "cohabitation partnerships" [R1.1].

R1.4 PinkNews.co.uk: Hong Kong strengthens same-sex domestic violence laws 31 DEC 09
L1.3 Department of Justice: Chapter 189 – Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Violence Ordinance PDF 97.52kb (Accessed 08 FEB 10
R1.2 IGLHRC: Same-Sex Couples Included in the Amended Domestic Violence Law 22 DEC 09
R1.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Gay couples to be protected by Hong Kong domestic violence law 04 JUN 09

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