Societies Ordinance


Published: 1997-07-01

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Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 1

Chapter: 151 SOCIETIES ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date

Long title 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


To provide for the registration of societies, for the prohibition of the operation of certain societies and for matters
related thereto.

(Amended 75 of 1992 s. 2; 118 of 1997 s. 2)


[27 May 1949]

(Originally 28 of 1949 (Cap 151 1950))

Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997


This Ordinance may be cited as the Societies Ordinance.

Section: 2 Interpretation 10 of 2008 09/05/2008


(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
"branch" (分支機構), in relation to a society, includes any society which is in any way subordinate to any other

society; (Added 28 of 1961 s. 2. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 3)
"connection" (聯繫), in relation to a society or a branch, that is a political body, includes the following circumstances-

(a) if the society or the branch solicits or accepts financial contributions, financial sponsorships or
financial support of any kind or loans, directly or indirectly, from a foreign political organization or a
political organization of Taiwan;

(b) if the society or the branch is affiliated directly or indirectly with a foreign political organization or a
political organization of Taiwan;

(c) if the society's or the branch's policies or any of them are determined directly or indirectly by a foreign
political organization or a political organization of Taiwan; or

(d) if a foreign political organization or a political organization of Taiwan directs, dictates, controls or
participates, directly or indirectly, in the decision making process of the society or the branch; (Added
118 of 1997 s. 3)

"election" (選舉) means-
(a) a general election or a by-election to elect members of the Legislative Council; or
(b) an ordinary election or a by-election to elect members of a District Council; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3.

Amended 8 of 1999 s. 89; 48 of 1999 s. 48; 78 of 1999 s. 7)
"exempted society" (獲豁免社團) means a society exempted by the Societies Officer from registration under this

Ordinance; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3)
"foreign political organization" (外國政治性組織) includes-

(a) a government of a foreign country or a political subdivision of a government of a foreign country;
(b) an agent of a government of a foreign country or an agent of a political subdivision of the government

of a foreign country; or
(c) a political party in a foreign country or its agent; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3. Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

"local society" (本地社團) means any society organized and established in Hong Kong or having its headquarters or
chief place of business in Hong Kong, and includes any society deemed to be established in Hong Kong by
virtue of section 2(2B) or 4; (Amended 36 of 1982 s. 2; 30 of 1988 s. 4; 75 of 1992 s. 3; 118 of 1997 s. 3)

"office-bearer" (幹事) of a society means any person who is the president, or vice-president, or secretary or treasurer
of such society or any branch thereof, or who is a member of the committee or governing body of such society or
any branch thereof, or who holds in such society or any branch thereof any office or position analogous to any of
those mentioned above or in the case of a triad society, any person holding any rank or office in the triad society
other than that of any ordinary member; (Amended 31 of 1957 s. 2; 28 of 1961 s. 2)

"performance of functions" (履行職能) includes the exercise of powers and the performance of duties; (Added 75 of



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 2

1992 s. 3)
"political body" (政治性團體) means-

(a) a political party or an organization that purports to be a political party; or
(b) an organization whose principal function or main object is to promote or prepare a candidate for an

election; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3)
"political organization of Taiwan" (台灣政治性組織) includes-

(a) the administration of Taiwan or a political subdivision of the administration;
(b) an agent of the administration of Taiwan or an agent of a political subdivision of the administration; or
(c) a political party in Taiwan or its agent; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3)

"Secretariat" (秘書處) means the Triad Renunciation Secretariat established by section 26BA; (Added 12 of 1991 s.
2)

"Societies Officer" (社團事務主任) means the Societies Officer and any Assistant Societies Officer appointed in
accordance with the provisions of section 3; (Added 75 of 1992 s. 3)

"society" (社團) means any club, company, partnership or association of persons, whatever the nature or objects, to
which the provisions of this Ordinance apply; (Replaced 28 of 1961 s. 2)

"specified form" (指明的表格) means a form specified by the Societies Officer; (Added 118 of 1997 s. 3)
"triad ritual" (三合會儀式) means any ritual commonly used by triad societies, any ritual closely resembling any

such ritual and any part of any such ritual; (Added 28 of 1961 s. 2)
"Tribunal" (審裁處) means the Triad Renunciation Tribunal established by section 26A. (Added 58 of 1988 s. 2)

(2) The provisions of this Ordinance shall not apply to any person listed in the Schedule. (Added 28 of 1961 s.
2. Amended 36 of 1982 s. 2; 75 of 1992 s. 3)

(2A) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 3)
(2B) This Ordinance applies to a society to which it otherwise would not apply under the Schedule by its being

registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap 310) if the Societies Officer gives written notice to the
society that he is of the opinion that the society is not used solely for religious, charitable, social or recreational
purposes. The society is taken to be established in Hong Kong on the date on which the notice is given. (Added 118
of 1997 s. 3)

(3) The Chief Executive in Council may by order amend the Schedule. (Added 28 of 1961 s. 2. Amended 13 of
1999 s. 3)

(4) In this Ordinance the expressions "public safety" and "the protection of rights and freedoms of others" are
interpreted in the same way as under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as applied to Hong
Kong. "national security" (國家安全) means the safeguarding of the territorial integrity and the independence of the
People's Republic of China. (Replaced 118 of 1997 s. 3. Amended 10 of 2008 s. 3)

(Amended 75 of 1992 s. 3)

Section: 3 Appointment of Societies Officer 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


The Chief Executive may appoint by name or office an officer to be the Societies Officer for Hong Kong, and
officers to be styled Assistant Societies Officers.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 4. Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

Section: 4 Societies deemed to be established in Hong Kong 30/06/1997


A society shall be deemed to be established in Hong Kong, although it is organized and has its headquarters or
chief place of business outside Hong Kong, if any of its office-bearers or members resides in Hong Kong or is present
therein, or if any persons in Hong Kong manages or assists in the management of such society or solicits or collects
money or subscription in its behalf:

Provided that no society shall be deemed to be so established, if and so long as-
(a) it is organized and is operating wholly outside Hong Kong; and
(b) no office, place of business or place of meeting is maintained or used in Hong Kong by such society or



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 3

by any person in its behalf; and
(c) no register of members of such society is kept in Hong Kong; and
(d) no subscriptions are collected or solicited in Hong Kong by the society or by any person in its behalf.

(Amended 30 of 1988 s. 4)

Section: 5 Application for registration or exemption from

registration
118 of 1997 01/07/1997



(1) A local society shall apply in the specified form to the Societies Officer for registration or exemption from
registration within 1 month of its establishment or deemed establishment under section 2(2B) or 4. The application
must be signed by 3 office-bearers and include details of-

(a) the name of the society;
(b) the objects of the society;
(c) the particulars of the office-bearers of the society; and
(d) the address of the principal place of business of the society and of every place or premises owned or

occupied by the society.
(2) A local society shall apply in the specified form to the Societies Officer for registration or exemption from

registration of a branch of the society within 1 month of the branch's establishment or deemed establishment under
section 2(2B) or 4. The application must be signed by 3 office-bearers of the society and include details of-

(a) the name of the society;
(b) the name, if any, of the branch and its objects, if they are different from the objects of the society;
(c) the particulars of the office-bearers of the branch; and
(d) the address of the principal place of business of the branch.

(Replaced 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 5A Registration and exemption from registration 10 of 2008 09/05/2008


(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Societies Officer may register a society or a branch.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), the Societies Officer may exempt a society or a branch from registration if he is

satisfied that the society or the branch is established solely for religious, charitable, social or recreational purposes or
as a rural committee or a federation or other association of rural committees. If the Societies Officer exempts a society
or a branch from registration, he may issue a certificate of exemption from registration in the specified form.

(3) The Societies Officer may, after consultation with the Secretary for Security, refuse to register or to exempt
from registration a society or a branch-

(a) if he reasonably believes that the refusal is necessary in the interests of national security or public
safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others; or (Amended 10 of 2008 s.
4)

(b) if the society or the branch is a political body that has a connection with a foreign political
organization or a political organization of Taiwan.

(4) The Societies Officer shall not refuse an application for registration or exemption from registration without
first giving the society an opportunity to be heard or to make written representations as the society thinks fit as to why
the application should not be refused unless the Societies Officer reasonably believes that in the circumstances of the
case it would not be practicable to give the society the opportunity to be heard or to make representations.

(5) The Societies Officer shall give to a society written reasons for his refusal to register or to exempt from
registration the society or the branch within 14 days of the decision.

(6) A society or a branch may operate and continue to operate until the society is notified that the Societies
Officer has refused its application for registration or exemption from registration.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 5B Appeal against refusal to register or to exempt, etc. 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


The society, the branch, an office-bearer or a member of the society or the branch who is aggrieved by the
decision of the Societies Officer to refuse registration or exemption from registration may appeal to the Chief
Executive in Council within 30 days of the date when notice of the decision was given to the society. The Chief
Executive in Council may confirm, vary or reverse the decision. The operation of the decision appealed against is



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 4

suspended until the Chief Executive in Council has heard and determined the appeal.
(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)


Section: 5C Offences in relation to registration, etc. 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) If a society fails to comply with section 5(1) or (2), every office-bearer or person professing or claiming to
be an office-bearer commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction-

(a) for a first conviction for the offence in relation to a particular society, to a fine at level 3; and
(b) for a second or subsequent conviction for the offence in relation to the same society, to a fine at level 4

and to imprisonment for 3 months and in addition to a fine of $300 for each day during which the
offence continues, commencing on the date of the first conviction.

(2) It is a defence to a charge under subsection (1) if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court
that he has exercised due diligence to ensure the society complied with section 5 and that the failure occurred for
reasons beyond his control.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 5D Cancellation of registration or exemption from registration 10 of 2008 09/05/2008


(1) The Societies Officer may, after consultation with the Secretary for Security, cancel the registration or
exemption from registration of a society or a branch-

(a) if he reasonably believes that the cancellation is necessary in the interests of national security or public
safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others; or (Amended 10 of 2008 s.
5)

(b) if the society or the branch is a political body that has a connection with a foreign political
organization or a political organization of Taiwan.

(2) The Societies Officer shall not cancel the registration or exemption from registration without first giving the
society an opportunity to be heard or to make written representations as the society thinks fit as to why the registration
or exemption from registration should not be cancelled unless the Societies Officer reasonably believes that in the
circumstances of the case it would not be practicable to give the society the opportunity to be heard or to make
representations.

(3) The Societies Officer shall give to a society written reasons for his decision to cancel the registration or
exemption from registration of the society or branch within 14 days of the decision.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 5E Appeal against cancellation 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


The society, the branch, an office-bearer or a member of the society or the branch who is aggrieved by the
decision of the Societies Officer to cancel the registration or exemption from registration may appeal to the Chief
Executive in Council within 30 days of the date when notice of the decision was given to the society. The Chief
Executive in Council may confirm, vary or reverse the decision. The operation of the decision appealed against is
suspended until the Chief Executive in Council has heard and determined the appeal.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 5F Offences of continued operation 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) A society or a branch that is refused registration or exemption or has had its registration or exemption
cancelled and the refusal or cancellation-

(a) has not been appealed against within the time limited for appeal under section 5B or 5E; or
(b) has been confirmed on appeal,

shall cease its operation as a society or a branch.
(2) If a society or a branch fails to comply with subsection (1), every office-bearer or person professing or

claiming to be an office-bearer of the society or the branch commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction-
(a) for a first conviction for the offence in relation to a particular society, to a fine at level 3; and
(b) for a second or subsequent conviction for the offence in relation to the same society, to a fine at level 4



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 5

and to imprisonment for 3 months and in addition to a fine of $300 for each day during which the
offence continues, commencing on the date of the first conviction.

(3) It is a defence to a charge under subsection (2) if the defendant establishes to the satisfaction of the court
that he has exercised due diligence to ensure the society or the branch complied with subsection (1) and that the failure
occurred for reasons beyond his control.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 4)

Section: 6 Rural committees 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) The Secretary for Home Affairs may, in his absolute discretion, issue to any society a certificate in such
form as he thinks fit showing that he acknowledges such society as a rural committee or as a federation or other
association of rural committees and may cancel, amend or withdraw any such certificate and the issue or withdrawal
of such certificate shall be conclusive evidence as to whether or not a society is acknowledged by the Secretary for
Home Affairs as a rural committee or as a federation or other association of rural committees.

(2) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Secretary for Home Affairs under subsection (1) may appeal to
the Chief Executive in Council and on any such appeal the Chief Executive in Council may confirm, vary or reverse
the decision of the Secretary for Home Affairs. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(3) An appeal under subsection (2) may be made within 30 days after the date when the decision was notified
to the person or the society or the date of publication of the notice of the decision in the Gazette, whichever is the
later.

(4) The operation of any decision appealed against under subsection (1) shall be suspended until the appeal has
been heard and determined by the Chief Executive in Council. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)

Section: 7 Form of notices, records, etc. 30/06/1997


(1) The Societies Officer may specify the form of any notice in writing, certificate, application, record or return
required for the purposes of this Ordinance.

(2) The Societies Officer may publish in the Gazette any forms specified by him under subsection (1).
(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)


Section: 8 Prohibition of operation of societies 10 of 2008 09/05/2008


(1) The Societies Officer may recommend to the Secretary for Security to make an order prohibiting the
operation or continued operation of the society or the branch-

(a) if he reasonably believes that the prohibition of the operation or continued operation of a society or a
branch is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection
of the rights and freedoms of others; or (Amended 10 of 2008 s. 6)

(b) if the society or the branch is a political body that has a connection with a foreign political
organization or a political organization of Taiwan. (Replaced 118 of 1997 s. 5)

(2) On the recommendation by the Societies Officer under subsection (1), the Secretary for Security may by
order published in the Gazette prohibit the operation or continued operation of the society or the branch in Hong
Kong.

(3) The Secretary for Security shall not make an order under subsection (2) without first affording the society
or the branch an opportunity to be heard or to make representations in writing as the society or the branch thinks fit as
to why such an order should not be made.

(4) Subsection (3) shall not apply where the Secretary for Security reasonably believes that affording the
society or the branch an opportunity to be heard or to make representations in writing would not be practicable in the
circumstances of that case.

(5) An order made under subsection (2) shall as soon as practicable be-
(a) served on the society or the branch;
(b) (where the society or the branch occupies or uses any building or premises) affixed in a conspicuous



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 6

manner on any building or premises occupied or used as a place of meeting by the society or the
branch and at the nearest police station of the police district in which such building or premises are
situated; and

(c) published in the Gazette.
(6) An order made under subsection (2) shall take effect on publication in the Gazette or, if the order specifies a

subsequent date for its taking effect, shall take effect on that specified date, notwithstanding that an appeal has been or
may be made against the order under subsection (7).

(7) A society or a branch in relation to which an order is made under this section and any office-bearer or
member of the society or the branch who is aggrieved by an order of the Secretary for Security made under this
section may appeal to the Chief Executive in Council against the making of the order within 30 days after the order
takes effect and the Chief Executive in Council may confirm, vary or revoke the order. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 5)

Section: 9 Restrictions on names of societies 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) No local society shall use a name for itself or its branch which- (Amended 118 of 1997 s. 6)
(a) is identical with that by which a society already in existence is known or so closely resembles that

name;
(b) is likely to mislead the public as to the true character or purpose of the society;
(c) suggests that the society belongs to a class of persons specified in the Schedule when in fact it does

not so belong; or
(d) contains the words "rural committee" or any other words which, in the opinion of the Societies Officer,

suggest or are calculated to suggest that the society is a rural committee or federation or other
association of rural committees unless such society is a rural committee or a federation or other
association of rural committees acknowledged as such by the Secretary for Home Affairs.

(2) The Societies Officer may serve a notice on a society which has adopted a name not permitted under
subsection (1) requiring the society to change its name within such time as may be specified in the notice.

(3) The obligation imposed upon a society under subsection (2) shall be binding upon every office-bearer of the
society but any such office-bearer shall not be so bound unless he has been served with a copy of the notice.

(4) Where a society fails to comply with a notice served under subsection (2), every office-bearer who has been
served with a copy of the notice shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of
$10000 unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he has exercised due diligence to ensure compliance
with the notice by the society and that such failure has occurred for reasons beyond his control.

(5) A society which has been served with a notice under subsection (2) and any office-bearer or member
thereof who is aggrieved by a requirement of the Societies Officer under subsection (2) may appeal to the Secretary
for Security and on any such appeal the Secretary for Security may confirm, vary or cancel the requirement.

(6) An appeal under subsection (5) may be made within 30 days after the date when the notice setting out the
requirement was served on the society.

(7) A requirement under this section shall take effect when the notice setting the requirement is served on the
society notwithstanding any appeal under subsection (5).

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)

Section: 9A (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 5) 30/06/1997




Section: 9B (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 5) 30/06/1997




Section: 10 Changes of particulars of a society 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) Where a society or its branch which has been registered or exempted from registration changes its name,
objects, office-bearers or principal place of business or closes a branch which is registered or exempted from
registration, the society shall within 1 month from such change, inform the Societies Officer in writing of such change.
(Amended 118 of 1997 s. 7)



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 7

(2) Where a society fails to notify the Societies Officer of a change of particulars as required under subsection
(1), every office-bearer of the society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine
of $10000 unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he has exercised due diligence to ensure
compliance with this section by the society and that such failure has occurred for reasons beyond his control.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)

Section: 11 List of societies 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) Subject to section 14A, the Societies Officer shall keep a list of all societies and branches which have been
registered or exempted from registration setting out-

(a) the names of the societies and the branches; and
(b) the respective addresses of the principal places of business of the societies and the branches and the

places or premises owned or occupied by the societies. (Amended 118 of 1997 s. 8)
(2) The list kept by the Societies Officer under subsection (1) shall be open to inspection by any person free of

charge during office hours at the Societies Office.
(3) The list kept under this section may be kept in a form other than documentary form but where it is kept in

such a form, it shall be capable of being retrieved in a documentary form.
(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)


Section: 12 Requests for information and documents 30/06/1997


(1) The Societies Officer may, on a request in writing by any person and on payment of such fee as may be
prescribed, provide such information or document or extract thereof of or in respect of a society as are received by him
under section 5(1) and (2) in respect of the society concerned.

(2) Any person may, on payment of such fee as may be prescribed, require a copy or extract of any document
or part of document provided under subsection (1) to be certified by the Societies Officer as a true copy.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 5)

Section: 13 Cessation of existence of a society 30/06/1997


(1) If the Societies Officer has reason to believe that any society on the list kept under section 11 has ceased to
exist, he may publish in the Gazette a notification calling upon such society to furnish him with proof of its existence
within 3 months from the date of such notification. (Amended 75 of 1992 s. 6)

(2) If at the expiration of such 3 months after such publication, the society has not furnished the Societies
Officer with proof of its existence to the satisfaction of the Societies Officer, the Societies Officer may remove the
society from the list kept under section 11. (Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 6)

(3) If, under subsection (2), the name of a society has been removed from the list kept under section 11 and
within 3 years after the date of such removal the Societies Officer finds that the society is still in operation, he may-

(a) serve a notice in writing on the society requiring it to explain in writing its failure to furnish proof of
existence as required under subsection (2) and to furnish to the Societies Officer the most recent
particulars of the society as required under section 5(1) or (2); and

(b) restore the society to the list. (Added 75 of 1992 s. 6)
(4) Where the name of a society has been restored to the list under subsection (3), the society shall be deemed

not to have been removed under subsection (2). (Added 75 of 1992 s. 6)
(5) If after the expiration of 3 years from the date of removal of a society under subsection (2), the society has

not been restored under subsection (3) the society shall on such expiration be deemed to have ceased to exist. (Added
75 of 1992 s. 6)

Section: 14 Dissolution of a society 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) If a registered society or an exempted society has subsequently dissolved itself, the persons who were the
office-bearers of the society before such dissolution shall, not later than the expiration of 1 month after the dissolution
takes effect, notify the Societies Officer of such dissolution in writing signed by one or more of the persons who were
the office-bearers of the society immediately before the dissolution.



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 8

(2) On receipt of any such notification, the Societies Officer shall as soon as practicable after the date when the
dissolution takes effect, de-register the society and its branches and remove the society and the branches from the list
kept under section 11.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 7. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 9)

Section: 14A Removing a society from the list 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) (Repealed 118 of 1997 s. 10)
(2) Where a registered society or an exempted society has subsequently become a person listed in the Schedule,

the Societies Officer may, upon application in writing by the society, remove the society from the list kept under
section 11.

(3) Where an order prohibiting the operation or continued operation of a society or a branch has been published
in the Gazette under section 8(2), the Societies Officer shall, as soon as practicable after the order comes into effect,
remove the society or the branch from the list kept under section 11 but where subsequently, the order is revoked
pursuant to an appeal under section 8(7), the Societies Officer shall as soon as practicable restore the society or the
branch to the list.

(Added 75 of 1992 s. 7. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 10)

Section: 15 Information to be furnished by societies 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) The Societies Officer may, at any time, by notice in writing served on any society require the society to
furnish him in writing with such information as he may reasonably require for the performance of his functions under
this Ordinance. (Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 8)

(1A) The information required under subsection (1) may include the income, the source of the income and the
expenditure of the society or its branch. (Added 118 of 1997 s. 11)

(2) A notice served under subsection (1) shall specify the time within which (being not less than 7 days) the
information shall be supplied:

Provided that the Societies Officer may, on application made to him and on good cause being shown, grant an
extension of time at his discretion. (Amended 75 of 1992 s. 8)

(Amended 36 of 1982 s. 8; 30 of 1988 s. 4)

Section: 16 Persons responsible for supplying information 30/06/1997


(1) The obligations imposed upon societies by section 15 shall be binding upon every office-bearer and upon
every person managing or assisting in the management of any such society in Hong Kong: (Amended 30 of 1988 s. 4)

Provided that any such office-bearer or other person as aforesaid shall not be so bound unless he has been served
with the notice under the relevant section.

(2) If any society fails to comply with the whole or part of any notice served under section 15, each of the
persons mentioned in subsection (1) who has been served as aforementioned shall be liable on summary conviction to
a fine of $20000 unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he has exercised due diligence and has failed
to comply with the notice for reasons beyond his control.

(3) If any information supplied to the Societies Officer in compliance with a notice served under section 15 is
false, incorrect, or incomplete in any material particular, the person who has supplied such information shall be liable
on summary conviction to a fine of $20000 unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he had good
reason to believe that the information was true, correct and complete.

(Amended 36 of 1982 s. 9; 75 of 1992 s. 9)

Section: 17 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 10) 30/06/1997




Section: 18 Unlawful societies 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


(1) For the purposes of this Ordinance, "unlawful society" (非法社團) means-
(a) a triad society, whether or not such society is a registered society or an exempted society and whether



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 9

or not such society is a local society; or
(b) a society in respect of which, or in respect of whose branch, an order made under section 8 is in force.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 11. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 12)
(2) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 11)
(3) Every society which uses any triad ritual or which adopts or makes use of any triad title or nomenclature

shall be deemed to be a triad society. (Amended 36 of 1964 s. 2)
(Replaced 28 of 1961 s. 6)


Section: 19 Penalties on office-bearer, etc. of an unlawful society 30/06/1997


(1) Save as is provided in subsection (2), any office-bearer or any person professing or claiming to be an office-
bearer and any person managing or assistant in the management of any unlawful society shall be guilty of an offence
and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $100000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.

(2) Any office-bearer or any person professing or claiming to be an office-bearer and any person managing or
assisting in the management of any triad society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on
indictment to a fine of $1000000 and to imprisonment for 15 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 12)

Section: 20 Membership, etc. 30/06/1997


(1) Save as is provided in subsection (2), any person who is or acts as a member of an unlawful society or
attends a meeting of an unlawful society or who pays money or gives any aid to or for the purposes of an unlawful
society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment-

(a) in the case of a first conviction for that offence to a fine of $20000 and to imprisonment for 12 months;
and

(b) in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for that offence to a fine of $50000 and to
imprisonment for 2 years. (Amended L.N. 19 of 1987)

(2) Any person who is or acts as a member of a triad society or professes or claims to be a member of a triad
society or attends a meeting of a triad society or who pays money or gives any aid to or for the purposes of the triad
society or is found in possession of or has the custody or control of any books, accounts, writing, lists of members,
seals, banners or insignia of or relating to any triad society or to any branch of a triad society whether or not such
society or branch is established in Hong Kong, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on
indictment- (Amended 36 of 1964 s. 4; 30 of 1988 s. 4)

(a) in the case of a first conviction for that offence to a fine of $100000 and to imprisonment for 3 years;
and

(b) in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for that offence to a fine of $250000 and to
imprisonment for 7 years. (Amended L.N. 19 of 1987)

(Replaced 28 of 1961 s. 8. Amended 75 of 1992 s. 13)

Section: 21 Persons allowing unlawful society on premises 30/06/1997


(1) Save as is proved in subsection (2), any person who knowingly allows a meeting of an unlawful society, or
of members of an unlawful society, to be held in any house, building or place belonging to or occupied by him, or over
which he has control, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment in the case of a first
conviction for that offence, to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 12 months and in the case of a second or
subsequent conviction for that offence, to a fine of $100000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) Any person who knowingly allows a meeting of a triad society, or of members of a triad society, to be held
in any house, building or place belonging to or occupied by him, or over which he has control, shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment in the case of a first conviction for that offence, to a fine of
$100000 and to imprisonment for 3 years and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for that offence, to a
fine of $200000 and to imprisonment for 5 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 14)




Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 10

Section: 22 Penalty for inciting, etc., a person to become a member of
an unlawful society

30/06/1997



(1) Save as is provided in subsection (2), any person who incites, induces or invites another person to become a
member of or assist in the management of an unlawful society and any person who uses any violence, threat or
intimidation towards any other person in order to induce him to become a member or to assist in the management of
an unlawful society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $50000
and to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) Any person who incites, induces or invites another person to become a member of or assist in the
management of a triad society and any person who uses any violence, threat or intimidation towards any other person
in order to induce him to become a member or to assist in the management of a triad society shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $250000 and to imprisonment for 5 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 15)

Section: 23 Penalty for procuring subscription or aid for an unlawful

society
30/06/1997



(1) Save as is provided in subsection (2), any person who procures or attempts to procure from any other
person any subscription or aid for the purposes of an unlawful society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable
on conviction on indictment to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) Any person who procures or attempts to procure from any other person any subscription or aid for the
purposes of a triad society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of
$250000 and to imprisonment for 5 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 16)

Section: 24 Liability of person convicted of an offence under section 19

or 20
13 of 1999 01/07/1997



Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) Where a person has been convicted of any offence under section 19 or 20, the Secretary for Security may,
on the recommendation of the Societies Officer, make an order that such person shall not become an office-bearer of
any other society for a period of 5 years without the consent in writing of the Societies Officer.

(2) An order made under subsection (1) shall as soon as practicable be served on the person and shall take
effect on the day when the order is served on him notwithstanding any appeal against the order under subsection (3).

(3) A person who is aggrieved by an order made under subsection (1) may appeal to the Chief Executive in
Council within 30 days from the date of service of the order on him and the Chief Executive in Council may confirm,
vary or revoke the order. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(4) A person who contravenes an order made under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be
liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 17)

Section: 25 Restriction on office-bearers of a prohibited society

becoming office-bearers of other societies
118 of 1997; 13
of 1999

01/07/1997



Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) Where an order made under section 8 prohibiting the operation or continued operation of a society or a
branch is effective, the Secretary for Security may, on the recommendation of the Societies Officer, make an order that
an office-bearer of the society or the branch shall not become an office-bearer of any other society for a period of 5
years without the consent in writing of the Societies Officer. (Amended 118 of 1997 s. 13)

(2) An order made under subsection (1) shall as soon as practicable be served on the office-bearer and shall



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 11

take effect on the day when the order is served on him notwithstanding any appeal against the order under subsection
(3).

(3) A person who is aggrieved by an order made under subsection (1) may appeal to the Chief Executive in
Council within 30 days from the date of service of the order on him and the Chief Executive in Council may confirm,
vary or revoke the order. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(4) A person who contravenes an order made under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be
liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 3 years.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 17)

Section: 26 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 17) 30/06/1997




Section: 26A Triad Renunciation Tribunal constitution and procedure 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) There is established a tribunal to be known as the Triad Renunciation Tribunal which shall consist of a
Chairman and such number of other members as the Chief Executive considers appropriate for the time being.
(Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(2) The Tribunal shall carry out the functions and duties imposed on it by this Ordinance.
(3) The Chairman of the Tribunal shall convene meetings of the Tribunal when required to enable it to perform

its functions.
(4) Subject to this Ordinance, the Tribunal may determine its own procedure.
(5) For the purposes of hearing an application for a declaration made under section 26C, not less than 3

members of the Tribunal shall be present, one of whom shall be-
(a) the Chairman; or
(b) a person authorized under section 26B(3).

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)
________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
Ceased to operate w.e.f. 16.8.1991-see the Societies (Suspension of Sections 26A and 26B) Order (Cap 151
sub. leg. C).

Section: 26B Appointment of members 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) The Chief Executive shall appoint the members of the Tribunal for a term not exceeding 5 years.
(2) The Chief Executive may reappoint a retiring member at the expiration of his term.
(3) The Chief Executive may appoint a person to be the Chairman of the Tribunal and may appoint other

members to carry out the functions of the Chairman in the event of the incapacity or absence from Hong Kong of the
Chairman or if the office of Chairman is vacant.

(4) A member or the Chairman may resign his appointment at any time by notice in writing to the Chief
Executive.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3. Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)
________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
Ceased to operate w.e.f. 16.8.1991-see the Societies (Suspension of Sections 26A and 26B) Order (Cap 151
sub. leg. C).

Section: 26BA Triad Renunciation Secretariat constitution and procedure 30/06/1997


(1) There shall be a Triad Renunciation Secretariat while sections 26A and 26B are not in operation as
prescribed under section 26N.



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 12

(2) The Secretariat shall consist of a secretary and such other public officers as the Secretary for Security shall
appoint.

(3) The Secretariat shall carry out the functions and duties imposed on it by this Ordinance.
(4) The Secretariat may determine its own procedure.

(Added 12 of 1991 s. 3)

Section: 26C Application for declaration 30/06/1997


A person who has been, or believes that he has been, admitted as a member of a triad society may apply to the
Tribunal in the form specified under section 26D(1) to renounce his membership of the triad society.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)
________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
Ceased to operate w.e.f. 1.4.1991-see the Societies (Suspension of Section 26C) Order (Cap 151 sub. leg. B).

Section: 26D Form of application 30/06/1997


(1) The Tribunal may specify the form of application to the Tribunal and, without limiting the Tribunal's power
to require any relevant information, the Tribunal may require the applicant to disclose in the form-

(a) the applicant's full name (including any aliases) and identity card number;
(b) the applicant's residential address;
(c) if the applicant is under 16 years of age, the names of the applicant's parents and whether he believes

one or both parents are aware of the application;
(d) the name of the triad society of which the applicant is a member or claims membership;
(e) when and where he claims he became a member of the triad society;
(f) details of recruitment and following within the triad society;
(g) details of any initiation ceremony undertaken;
(h) if the applicant is an office-bearer in a triad society, details of the rank held, date and place of

promotion and any promotion initiation ceremony undertaken;
(i) if the applicant is aware of any police investigation relating to his involvement in any alleged offences

under this Ordinance;
(j) if any criminal proceedings against the applicant are currently before any court; and
(k) if the applicant has been convicted of any offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 and, if so,

particulars of the convictions.
(2) The applicant shall verify the details set out in an application by a statutory declaration.
(3) The Tribunal may authorize a person to administer an oath and the person shall be a person authorized by

law to administer an oath for the purposes of section 12 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap 11).
(4) The Tribunal may at any time require an applicant to submit himself to have his finger-prints taken and, if it

does, shall not hear the application until the finger-prints are taken.
(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)


Section: 26E Procedure of Tribunal on application 30/06/1997


(1) The Tribunal shall notify the applicant of the time and place of the hearing of his application.
(2) The Tribunal shall satisfy itself that there is no current relevant police investigation of the applicant or

relevant criminal proceedings against the applicant before proceeding with the application.
(3) If the Tribunal is aware of a police investigation of, or criminal proceedings against, the applicant in

relation to any matter the subject of an application-
(a) it shall adjourn the application; and
(b) the applicant shall not be entitled to renounce membership of the triad society,

until the Tribunal is satisfied that the investigation, proceedings or both are discontinued or completed.
(4) The Tribunal may examine the applicant and any other persons appearing before it and take evidence on

oath and administer oaths and affirmations.
(5) The Tribunal shall-

(a) determine if the applicant was admitted as a member of a triad society; and



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 13

(b) if it is satisfied that the applicant has disclosed to the Tribunal an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22
or 23 record the offence.

(6) An applicant may, at any time before the Tribunal makes a determination, withdraw his application.
(7) An application shall be deemed to be withdrawn if the Tribunal is satisfied that the application has been

abandoned by the applicant. (Added 12 of 1991 s. 4)
(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)


Section: 26F Appearance before the Tribunal 30/06/1997


(1) The applicant and, if he is a child or young person within the meaning of the Juvenile Offenders Ordinance
(Cap 226), either or both of his parents, or a guardian may appear before the Tribunal.

(2) Subject to subsection (1), a person who appears before the Tribunal shall not be entitled to be represented
by a barrister, solicitor or any other person.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26G Renunciation 30/06/1997


(1) If the Tribunal determines that an applicant was admitted as a member of a triad society, the applicant may
renounce his membership of the triad society and a member of the Tribunal shall administer an oath or affirmation of
renunciation to the applicant, advise him that if he is convicted of an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 within
5 years the court or magistrate will be informed of his disclosure to the Tribunal and advise him of his right to request
a certificate under sections 26H(1) and 26I(3).

(2) If after considering an application for renunciation, the Tribunal is not satisfied that an applicant has been
admitted as a member of a triad society but is satisfied that he has disclosed his involvement in an offence under
section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23, the Tribunal shall inform the applicant of its findings and of his right to apply for a
certificate under sections 26H(1) and 26I(3), and advise him that if he is convicted of an offence under section 19, 20,
21, 22 or 23 within 5 years the court or magistrate will be informed of his disclosure to the Tribunal.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26H Certificate a stay to certain proceedings 30/06/1997


(1) A person who-
(a) renounced his membership of a triad society under section 26G(1); or
(b) has had an offence recorded under section 26E(5)(b),

and who is charged before a court or magistrate with an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 for an offence
which is alleged to have occurred prior to his renunciation or the recording of the offence may request the Tribunal or
where sections 26A and 26B are not in operation, the Secretariat to issue a certificate under subsection (3). (Amended
12 of 1991 s. 5)

(2) The court or magistrate hearing the matter shall, on the request of the accused, adjourn the proceedings on
the terms as it or he thinks fit to enable a request to be made under subsection (1).

(3) If a person makes a request under subsection (1), the Tribunal or the Secretariat as the case may be shall
issue to the court or magistrate hearing the matter a certificate as to the matters set out in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that
subsection, and, where an offence has been recorded, giving particular of the offence. (Amended 12 of 1991 s. 5)

(4) In a prosecution under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 for an offence which occurred before the date on which
he renounced his membership of the relevant triad society or the Tribunal recorded the offence for which he is
charged, a certificate-

(a) that the person has renounced his membership of the relevant triad society shall stay proceedings for
an offence under section 19 or 20, being an offence in which membership of a triad society is relevant,
if the offence occurred before the date of the renunciation;

(b) that the Tribunal has recorded an offence under section 26E(5)(b) shall stay the proceedings for the
recorded offence.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)




Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 14

Section: 26I Issue of certificates on conviction for certain offences and
in other cases

30/06/1997



(1) If a person is convicted of an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23, the court or magistrate shall, prior
to passing sentence, call for from the Tribunal or where sections 26A and 26B are not in operation, the Secretariat, and
the Tribunal or the Secretariat as the case may be shall issue, certificates stating whether or not the defendant has
within the past 5 years- (Amended 12 of 1991 s. 6)

(a) renounced membership of a triad society and, if so, the date on which he renounced his membership;
(b) disclosed to the Tribunal any offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23.

(2) The court or magistrate may take into account in assessing the penalty to be imposed whether the person
had, within 5 years prior to the commission of the offence for which he has been convicted, renounced his
membership of a triad society or disclosed any offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 to the Tribunal.

(3) The Tribunal or where sections 26A and 26B are not in operation, the Secretariat shall, on the written
request of a person who has renounced membership of a triad society, issue a certificate to- (Amended 12 of 1991 s.
6)

(a) a court, a magistrate, the Commissioner of Police or the Commissioner of Correctional Services that
the person has renounced membership of a triad society and the date on which he renounced his
membership;

(b) a court, a magistrate or the Commissioner of Police that the person on a date specified in the certificate
disclosed to the Tribunal the commission of an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26J Certificates as proof 30/06/1997


(1) A certificate purporting to be issued by the Tribunal under this Ordinance and purporting to be signed by a
member of the Tribunal shall until the contrary is proved be deemed to be issued by the Tribunal and shall be evidence
of the matters set out in the certificate.

(2) A certificate purporting to be issued by the Secretariat under this Ordinance and purporting to be signed by
the secretary of the Secretariat shall until the contrary is proved be deemed to be issued by the Secretariat and shall be
evidence of the matters set out in the certificate. (Added 12 of 1991 s. 7)

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26K Records 30/06/1997


(1) The Tribunal or where sections 26A and 26B are not in operation, the Secretariat shall cause an application
and relevant records (including the applicant's finger-prints and records of its proceedings) relating to the application
to be destroyed if the Tribunal determines that the application and the proceedings fail to disclose membership of a
triad society or an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23. (Amended 12 of 1991 s. 8)

(2) The Tribunal or where sections 26A and 26B are not in operation, the Secretariat shall keep a record of an
application and its proceedings and determination on the application where- (Amended 12 of 1991 s. 8)

(a) the applicant renounces membership of a triad society; or
(b) it has recorded that the applicant has disclosed an offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26L Proceedings and records to be confidential 30/06/1997


(1) A member of the Tribunal or the Secretariat or any person employed to assist the Tribunal or the Secretariat
shall not disclose any information concerning any person which is given to the Tribunal or otherwise comes to
knowledge in employment or in carrying out duties under this Ordinance. (Amended 12 of 1991 s. 9)

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $5000
and to imprisonment for 6 months.

(3) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the disclosure of information required to be disclosed under this
Ordinance or for instituting and prosecuting criminal proceedings under section 26M.

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 15


Section: 26M Offences relating to renunciation applications 30/06/1997


(1) Any person who-
(a) in an application made under section 26D(1); or
(b) in an examination by the Tribunal,

makes a statement which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, or recklessly makes a false statement is
guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) Any person who, in proceedings before the Tribunal, impersonates another person is guilty of an offence
and liable on conviction to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 2 years.

(3) If a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (2)-
(a) any renunciation is void; and
(b) any proceedings stayed by the issue of a certificate by the Tribunal or the Secretariat may continue.

(Amended 12 of 1991 s. 10)
(4) If no further step is taken in proceedings stayed by a certificate issued by the Tribunal or the Secretariat for

a period of 5 years, these proceedings shall cease with neither a conviction nor acquittal being recorded. (Amended 12
of 1991 s. 10)

(Added 58 of 1988 s. 3)

Section: 26N Suspension and revival of sections 26A, 26B and 26C 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Chief Executive in Council may by order declare that section 26C- (Amended
13 of 1999 s. 3)

(a) shall cease to be in operation;
(b) shall be in operation again.

(2) Where an order is made under subsection (1)(a), section 26C shall cease to be in operation until an order is
made under subsection (1)(b), and where an order is made under subsection (1)(b), section 26C shall be in operation
until an order is made under subsection (1)(a).

(3) While section 26C is not in operation, the Chief Executive may, if all applications made under section 26C
while it was in operation have been determined or withdrawn, by order declare that sections 26A and 26B shall,
subject to subsection (4), cease to be in operation. (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(4) If an order is made under subsection (3), sections 26A and 26B shall cease to be in operation until section
26C shall be in operation again.

(Added 12 of 1991 s. 11)

Section: 27 Presumptions 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


In any proceedings under this Ordinance-
(a) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 18)
(b) it shall not be necessary for the prosecution to prove that a society or a branch possesses a name, or

that it has been constituted or is usually known under a particular name; (Amended 118 of 1997 s. 14)
(c) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 18)


Section: 28 Presumption of existence of triad society, etc. 30/06/1997


(1) Where any books, accounts, writings, lists of members, seals, banners or insignia of or relating to or
purporting to relate to any triad society are found, such society shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be in
existence at the time such books, accounts, writings, lists of members, seals, banners or insignia are so found.

(2) Where any books, accounts, writings, lists of members, seals, banners or insignia of or relating to any
unlawful society are found in the possession of any person, it shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the
contrary, that such person assists in the management of such society.



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 16

(3) Where it appears to a magistrate that there is reasonable cause to suspect that any place or premises entered
or searched under any power conferred by or under this Ordinance were, immediately before or at the time of such
entry, being used for the purpose of a meeting of a triad society, any person found in such place or premises at any
time during such search or found leaving therefrom immediately before or at the time of such entry shall, unless he
gives a satisfactory account of the reasons for his presence in the said place or premises, be presumed to have been
attending the meeting of the triad society.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 19)

Section: 29 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 20) 30/06/1997




Section: 30 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 20) 30/06/1997




Section: 31 Power of Societies Officer, etc., to enter place or premises
kept as place of meeting

30/06/1997



(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Societies Officer may, where he reasonably believes that it is necessary so to
do in connection with the performance of his functions under this Ordinance, at all reasonable times enter into any
place or premises which he has reason to believe is or are kept or used by any society or any of its members as a place
of meeting or place of business.

(2) No place or premises or any part thereof which is used for dwelling purposes shall be entered into under
subsection (1) except by virtue of a warrant issued by a magistrate, where such magistrate is satisfied by information
on oath that it is necessary for the Societies Officer to enter into the place or premises or part in connection with the
performance of his functions under this Ordinance.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 21)

Section: 32 Power of entry in special cases 10 of 2008 09/05/2008


A magistrate may, if satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for believing that a society
or a branch is being used or operated for any purpose that makes the prohibition of the operation or continued
operation of the society or the branch necessary in the interests of national security or to public safety or public order
or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, issue a warrant authorizing the Societies Officer and such other
persons as may be specified in the warrant to enter into and search any place or premises believed to be used as the
place of meeting or place of business of the society or the branch and search the persons found therein or escaping
therefrom for evidence that the society or the branch is being used for such purpose and seize or cause to be seized all
documents or articles which the Societies Officer has reasonable cause to believe to be capable of being evidence in
the prosecution of an offence under this Ordinance in connection with the society or the branch.

(Replaced 75 of 1992 s. 21. Amended 118 of 1997 s. 15; 10 of 2008 s. 7)

Section: 33 Powers of entry and search 30/06/1997


(1) Any police officer of or above the rank of inspector may, with or without assistance, using force, if
reasonably necessary, enter into any dwelling-house or other building, or into any place in which he has reason to
believe that a meeting of any unlawful society, or of persons who are members of an unlawful society, is being held,
or that any books, accounts, writings, lists of members, seals, banners, insignia, arms or other articles belonging to any
unlawful society are concealed, kept or deposited, and arrest or cause to be arrested all persons found in such house,
building or place whom he has reasonable cause to believe are associated with the unlawful society and search such
house, building or place, and seize or cause to be seized all books, accounts, writings, lists of members, seals, banners,
insignia, arms and other articles which he has reasonable cause to believe to belong to any unlawful society or to be in
any way connected therewith. (Amended 36 of 1982 s. 15; 75 of 1992 s. 22; L.N. 235 of 1996)

(2) All persons so arrested and all articles so seized may be detained in custody and brought before a magistrate
to be dealt with according to law.




Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 17

Section: 34 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 23) 30/06/1997




Section: 35 Consent to prosecution L.N. 362 of 1997 01/07/1997


Except in the case of persons charged under the provisions of sections 19, 20, 24 and 25 and of persons arrested
under the provisions of section 33, no person shall be charged with an offence under this Ordinance or any rule made
thereunder unless the prior consent in writing of the Secretary for Justice has been obtained.

(Amended 28 of 1961 s. 15; 75 of 1992 s. 24; L.N. 362 of 1997)

Section: 36 Forfeiture 30/06/1997


Any books, accounts, writings, banners, insignia or other movable property belonging to any unlawful society
shall upon order of a magistrate be forfeited and given to the Societies Officer for disposal in such manner as he may
see fit.

(Amended 75 of 1992 s. 25)

Section: 36A Service of notices 30/06/1997


Any notice or order to be served on a society under this Ordinance may be sent to the society by registered post
addressed to the last known postal address of the society and any notice or order to be served on a person under this
Ordinance may be sent to that person by registered post addressed to the last known postal address of that person.

(Added 36 of 1982 s. 13. Amended 75 of 1992 s. 26)

Section: 37 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 27) 30/06/1997




Section: 38 Protection of informers 30/06/1997


Except as is hereinafter provided - (Amended 75 of 1992 s. 28)
(a) no information laid under this Ordinance shall be admitted in evidence in any civil or criminal

proceedings whatsoever;
(b) no witness shall be obliged or permitted to disclose the name and address of any informer under this

Ordinance or to state any matter which might lead to his discovery; and
(c) if any books, documents or papers which are evidence or liable to inspection in any civil or criminal

proceedings whatsoever under this Ordinance contained any entry in which any informer is named or
described or which might lead to his discovery, the Court or magistrate shall cause all such passages to
be concealed from view or to be obliterated so far as may be necessary to protect the informer from
discovery but no further:

Provided that if in any criminal proceedings under this Ordinance the Court or magistrate after full inquiry into
the case is satisfied that the strict enforcement of the provisions of this section would be likely to cause a miscarriage
of justice, the Court or magistrate may require the production of the original information and may permit inquiry and
may require full disclosure concerning the informer.

(Added 28 of 1961 s. 16)

Section: 39 Evidence 30/06/1997


In any prosecution under this Ordinance the Court or magistrate may refer, for the purpose of evidence, to "The
Triad Society or Heaven and Earth Association" by William Stanton and to any other published book or articles on the
subject of unlawful societies in general or of particular unlawful societies which the Court or magistrate may consider
to be of authority on the subject to which they relate.

(Amended 36 of 1982 s. 15)




Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 18

Section: 40 (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 29) 30/06/1997




Section: 41 Rules 13 of 1999 01/07/1997


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 13 of 1999 s. 3


(1) The Chief Executive in Council may by rules prescribe or provide for- (Amended 13 of 1999 s. 3)
(a)-(f) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 30)
(g) any fees payable in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance; (Added 28 of 1961 s. 18)
(h) generally, carrying into effect the provisions of this Ordinance in relation to any matters, whether

similar or not to those in this subsection mentioned, as to which it may be expedient to make rules.
(2) Any rule made under this Ordinance may provide that a contravention thereof shall be an offence and may

provide penalties for such offences not exceeding a fine of $10000 and imprisonment for 6 months. (Added 28 of
1961 s. 18. Amended L.N. 19 of 1987; 75 of 1992 s. 30)

Section: 42 Transitional 30/06/1997


(1) Nothing in section 1(2) of the Societies (Amendment) (No. 3) Ordinance 1988 (71 of 1988) shall affect any
legal proceedings commenced on or before 21 June 1988 in respect of which any non-compliance with this Ordinance
by a partnership has been expressly put in issue on or before that date. (71 of 1988 s. 1(3) incorporated. Amended 75
of 1992 s. 31)

(2) Any local society which has, before the commencement of the amending Ordinance, submitted an
application for registration or for exemption from registration under this Ordinance but which has not been registered
or exempted shall, as from such commencement, be deemed to have complied with section 5, and the Societies Officer
shall enter the particulars of the society in the list of societies kept under section 11. (Added 75 of 1992 s. 31)

(3) A society registered under this Ordinance before the commencement of the amending Ordinance shall, as
from such commencement, be deemed to have complied with section 5, and the Societies Officer shall enter the
particulars of the society in the list of societies kept under section 11. (Added 75 of 1992 s. 31)

(4) A society exempted from registration by an order made under this Ordinance before the commencement of
the amending Ordinance shall, as from such commencement, be deemed to have complied with section 5, and the
Societies Officer shall enter the particulars of the society in the list of societies kept under section 11. (Added 75 of
1992 s. 31)

(5) In this section, "amending Ordinance" (修訂條例) means the Societies (Amendment ) Ordinance 1992 (75
of 1992). (Added 75 of 1992 s. 31)

Section: 43 Further transitional arrangements 118 of 1997 01/07/1997


A society which has notified the Societies Officer under section 5 of the Societies Ordinance (Cap 151) before 1
July 1997 is taken to have complied with the registration requirements on 1 July 1997 as required under the Societies
(Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (118 of 1997) and is taken to be a registered society and is subject to the provisions of
this Ordinance.

(Added 118 of 1997 s. 16)

Schedule: SCHEDULE L.N. 163 of 2013 03/03/2014


[section 2]


PERSONS TO WHICH THE ORDINANCE DOES NOT APPLY

(1) Any company registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap 622). (Amended 28 of 2012 ss. 912 & 920)
(1A) Any company registered under a former Companies Ordinance as defined by section 2(1) of the Companies

Ordinance (Cap 622). (Added 28 of 2012 ss. 912 & 920)



Cap 151 - SOCIETIES ORDINANCE 19

(2) Any co-operative society registered under the Co-operative Societies Ordinance (Cap 33).
(3) Any trade union or any trade union federation registered under the Trade Unions Ordinance (Cap 332).

(Replaced L.N. 59 of 1964)
(4) (a) An association the affairs of which are conducted wholly or partly in any school premises and which

consists wholly or mainly of persons under the age of 21 years who are undergoing primary education or
secondary education in any school.

(b) For the purposes of this item, "primary education" (小學教育), "school" (學校), "school premises" (校舍)
and "secondary education" (中學教育) have the meanings assigned to them by section 3 of the Education
Ordinance (Cap 279). (Replaced 8 of 2001 s. 30)

(4A) Any incorporated management committee as defined in section 3(1) of the Education Ordinance (Cap 279).
(Added 27 of 2004 s. 73)

(5) Any company or association constituted pursuant to or under any Ordinance or other legislation applicable to
Hong Kong. (Replaced 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(5A) Any company or association which was, immediately before the commencement of the Adaptation of Laws (No.
3) Ordinance 1999 (13 of 1999), a company or association constituted under Royal Charter, Royal Letters Patent
or any Imperial Act and was, immediately before that commencement, a local society. (Added 13 of 1999 s. 3)

(6) Any company, association or partnership formed for the sole purpose of carrying on any lawful business and
registered under any other Ordinance. (Amended 71 of 1988 s. 2)

(7) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 32)
(8) Any Chinese temple registered under the Chinese Temples Ordinance (Cap 153).
(9) Any credit union registered under the Credit Unions Ordinance (Cap 119). (Added L.N. 41 of 1970)
(10) Any corporation registered under the Building Management Ordinance (Cap 344). (Added L.N. 107 of 1973.

Amended 27 of 1993 s. 48)
(11) Any association of owners or occupiers of premises which is approved for the purposes of this Ordinance by the

Secretary for Home Affairs by notice in writing. (Added L.N. 107 of 1973. Amended L.N. 94 of 1974; L.N. 17
of 1982; L.N. 14 of 1983; L.N. 18 of 1983; L.N. 262 of 1989)

(12) Any association or group of persons which-
(a) is formed for the sole purpose of recreation or training;
(b) conducts its activities wholly or largely in a Community or Youth Centre; and
(c) was formed with and continues to have the approval of the Director of Social Welfare. (Added L.N. 114 of

1974)
(13) Any association of which-

(a) one or more of the directors, trustees or other office holders; or
(b) the committee or board or other body having the management of the association,
is or are incorporated by any Ordinance. (Added L.N. 93 of 1975)

(14) The operator of, and participants in, any chit fund, as defined in section 2 of the Chit-Fund Businesses
(Prohibition) Ordinance (Cap 262), which complies with section 5(2) of that Ordinance. (Added L.N. 225 of
1975)

(15) (Repealed 75 of 1992 s. 32)
(16) An unincorporated trust-

(a) of a public character established solely for charitable purposes; or
(b) established solely for the purpose of engaging in a retirement scheme approved under section 87A of the

Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap 112). (Added 75 of 1992 s. 32)
(Added 28 of 1961 s. 19)

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