Criminal offences commonly committed by elderly people
Bringing items into Hong Kong
It is an offence not to declare goods brought into Hong Kong which are dutiable (i.e. a tax needs to be paid on them). These include alcohol, tobacco (cigarettes), and petrol oil (diesel oil).
Any goods which are dutiable cannot be sold without a license. It is also an offence to offer to buy dutiable goods except from a licensed warehouse, the place of manufacture, or the vessel they were legally imported in.
(Section 17(8), Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, Cap.109)
You cannot possess, sell, or offer to buy cigarettes for which duty has not been paid.
How do I know if duty has been paid for my cigarettes?
Duty paid cigarettes have the Hong Kong Government’s health warning on the packet.
If you are in possession of more than 500 cigarettes that are in packets with the “HKDNP” mark or do not have the Hong Kong Government’s health warning printed on the packet, the court will assume duty has not been paid for them.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of HK$1,000,000 and immediate imprisonment of two years.
(Section 17, Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, Cap.109)
Counterfeit CD’s/DVD’s, etc.
- makes for sale,
- offers or shows for sale,
- possesses for sale, or
any copies of copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner commits an offence under section 118(1) of the Copyright Ordinance.
Any person in breach of this section of the Ordinance is subject to a maximum penalty of a HK$50,000 fine and four years’ imprisonment.
Can I carry ‘fake’ DVD/CD’s in my bag when crossing the border?
If you carry a large number of these discs in your bag, you could be prosecuted for importing an infringing copy of the work for other than private or domestic use.
What if I have ‘fake’ copyrighted goods in my home?
Under the Copyright Ordinance, if you have a number of fake copyrighted goods, such as DVDs or CDs, stored at home, you could be liable for possession of an infringing copy with the intention of selling it. This will likely be inferred if you have multiple copies of the same work.
Can I make copies in my home?
It is an offence to possess an article designed for making infringing copies of copyright work under section 118(4)(d) of the Copyright Ordinance. The possession of computers used to make copies, even in domestic premises, amounts to an offence.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a HK$500,000 fine and eight years’ imprisonment.
(Sections 118 and 119 of the Copyright Ordinance, Cap. 528)
Under section 12 of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Cap. 362, it is an offence to bring into Hong Kong goods which have a forged trademark:i.e. ‘fake’ goods. Anyone who makes or produces ‘fake’ goods in Hong Kong or sells such goods also commits an offence under section 7 of the Ordinance.
The maximum penalty for doing any of the above is a fine of HK$500,000 and five years’ imprisonment.
What is considered to be a forged trade mark (i.e. ‘fake’ goods)?
A forged trade mark is:
- a trademark which falsifies (resembles but is not nearly the same as) a genuine trademark, or
- one which, without the consent of the owner, so nearly resembles the trade mark that it deceives potential buyers.
All fresh or frozen meat imported into Hong Kong must have an official certificate issued by an authority recognized by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene. This includes any fresh or frozen meat brought across the border from the Mainland.
The maximum penalty for bringing meat into Hong Kong without an official certificate is a HK$50,000 fine and six months’ imprisonment.
(Reg. 7, Imported Game, Meat, and Poultry Regulations, Cap. 132AK)