Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance


Published: 2012-02-09

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Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 1

Chapter: 297 Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance Gazette Number Version Date

Long title E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


To rehabilitate offenders who have not been reconvicted for 3 years, to prevent unauthorized disclosure of their
previous convictions and for connected purposes.

(Enacted 1986)


[1 August 1986]

(Originally 55 of 1986)

(*Format changes—E.R. 1 of 2012)
__________________________________________________________________________
Note:
* The format of the Ordinance has been updated to the current legislative styles.

Section: 1 Short title E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


This Ordinance may be cited as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance.
(Enacted 1986)


Section: 1A Interpretation E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
foster parent (寄養父母) means a person who is recruited by the Central Foster Care Unit of the Social Welfare

Department or a non-governmental welfare organization to provide temporary care for a child on a voluntary and
non-charging basis;

motor vehicle (汽車) means any mechanically propelled vehicle constructed or adapted for use on a road and includes
any vehicle constructed for use on a railway or a tramway;

vocational driver (職業司機), in relation to a motor vehicle, means any person who is in charge of or assisting in the
control of such vehicle for the purposes of earning a living and includes a chauffeur.

(Added 10 of 1996 s. 2)

Section: 2 Protection of rehabilitated individual 4 of 2016 24/09/2016


(1) Where-
(a) an individual has been convicted in Hong Kong (before or after the commencement of this Ordinance) of an

offence in respect of which he was not sentenced to imprisonment exceeding 3 months or to a fine
exceeding $10000; (Amended 24 of 1993 s. 22)

(b) he has not been convicted in Hong Kong on any earlier day of an offence; and
(c) a period of 3 years has elapsed without that individual being again convicted in Hong Kong of an offence,

then-
(i) subject to section 3(3) and (4), no evidence shall be admissible in any proceedings which tends to show that

that individual was so convicted in Hong Kong;
(ii) any question asked of that individual or any other person relating to, or any obligation imposed on that

individual or any other person to disclose, that individual's previous convictions, offences, conduct or
circumstances shall be treated as not referring to that conviction; and

(iii) that conviction, or any failure to disclose it shall not be a lawful or proper ground for dismissing or
excluding that individual from any office, profession, occupation or employment or for prejudicing him in
any way in that office, profession, occupation or employment.

(1A) Where-
(a) an individual has been convicted in Hong Kong (before or after the commencement of this Ordinance) of an

offence under section 19, 20, 21, 22 or 23 of the Societies Ordinance (Cap 151) in respect of an unlawful
society within the meaning of section 18 of that Ordinance-



Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 2

(i) in circumstances in which that unlawful society is, or is deemed to be, a triad society under that last
mentioned section; and

(ii) in respect of which he was not sentenced to imprisonment exceeding 3 months or to a fine exceeding
$10000 but has subsequently renounced his membership of the triad society concerned under section
26G(1) of that Ordinance;

(b) he has not been convicted in Hong Kong on any earlier day of an offence;
(c) a period of 3 years has elapsed from the date of the conviction without that individual being again convicted

in Hong Kong of an offence;
(d) he has made a written request to the Triad Renunciation Tribunal established under section 26A of the

Societies Ordinance (Cap 151) or, where sections 26A and 26B of that Ordinance are not in operation under
section 26N of that Ordinance, to the Triad Renunciation Secretariat established under section 26BA of that
Ordinance, to issue a certificate under section 26I(3) of that Ordinance to the Commissioner of Police that
he has renounced membership of the triad society concerned and the date on which he renounced his
membership; and

(e) he has provided such information, including his fingerprints, as may be required by the Commissioner of
Police to enable his conviction record to be verified and for this purpose, a police officer may take or record
the individual's fingerprints and the fingerprints so taken or recorded shall be destroyed or delivered to the
individual as soon as reasonably practicable after his conviction record has been verified,

then-
(i) subject to section 3(3) and (4), no evidence shall be admissible in any proceedings which tends to show that

that individual was so convicted in Hong Kong;
(ii) any question asked of that individual or any other person relating to, or any obligation imposed on that

individual or any other person to disclose, that individual's previous convictions, offences, conduct or
circumstances shall be treated as not referring to that conviction; and

(iii) that conviction, or any failure to disclose it shall not be a lawful or proper ground for dismissing or
excluding that individual from any office, profession, occupation or employment or for prejudicing him in
any way in that office, profession, occupation or employment. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 3)

(1B) Where an individual pays or is ordered to pay a fixed penalty, or any additional penalty, under the Fixed Penalty
(Traffic Contraventions) Ordinance (Cap 237), the Fixed Penalty (Criminal Proceedings) Ordinance (Cap 240),
the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (Cap 570), the Fixed Penalty (Smoking
Offences) Ordinance (Cap 600) or the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Cap 611), then-
(Amended 24 of 2001 s. 21; 26 of 2008 s. 19; 3 of 2011 s. 33; 4 of 2016 s. 9)
(a) subject to section 3(3) and (4), no evidence shall be admissible in any proceedings which tends to show that

that individual has so paid or has been so ordered to pay;
(b) any question asked of that individual or any other person relating to, or any obligation imposed on that

individual or any other person to disclose, that individual's previous convictions, offences, conduct or
circumstances shall be treated as not referring to that payment or order to pay; and

(c) that payment or order to pay, or any failure to disclose it shall not be a lawful or proper ground for
dismissing or excluding that individual from any office, profession, occupation or employment or for
prejudicing him in any way in that office, profession, occupation or employment. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 3)

(2) The period of 3 years mentioned in subsection (1)(c) or (1A)(c) shall be reckoned from the date on which the
individual was sentenced for the offence mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (1A)(a), as the case may be, save that,
in the case of an individual sentenced to detention in a training, detention or rehabilitation centre, that period
shall be reckoned from expiry of the period of supervision following release from that detention. (Amended 11
of 2001 s. 17)

(3) The payment or recovery of a fixed penalty, or any additional penalty, under the Fixed Penalty (Traffic
Contraventions) Ordinance (Cap 237), the Fixed Penalty (Criminal Proceedings) Ordinance (Cap 240), the Fixed
Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (Cap 570), the Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences)
Ordinance (Cap 600) or the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Cap 611) is not a conviction for
the purposes of subsection (1) or (1A). (Replaced 10 of 1996 s. 3. Amended 24 of 2001 s. 21; 26 of 2008 s. 19;
3 of 2011 s. 33; 4 of 2016 s. 9)

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) or (1A)(a)-
(a) imprisonment (監禁) does not include detention in a reformatory school, in a detention centre, in a place of

detention, in a training centre or in a rehabilitation centre; (Amended 11 of 2001 s. 17)
(b) a sentence of imprisonment or a fine shall be such a sentence, whether or not it is suspended or postponed;



Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 3

(c) an individual is not sentenced to imprisonment where he is detained as a consequence of failing to pay a
fine; and

(d) conviction of an offence in respect of which an individual is not sentenced to imprisonment exceeding 3
months or to a fine exceeding $10000 includes convictions in the same proceedings or on the same day of
more than one offence in respect of which he is not sentenced to an actual term of imprisonment exceeding
3 months (irrespective of whether the term or terms of imprisonment are wholly or partly consecutive or
concurrent) or to fines exceeding $10000 in total. (Replaced 10 of 1996 s. 3)

(e) (Repealed 10 of 1996 s. 3)
(4A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), offence (罪、罪行) does not include an offence of contravening section

20(2) or 24 of the Societies Ordinance (Cap 151) or of contravening section 19, 20(1), 21, 22 or 23 of that
Ordinance in circumstances in which the unlawful society is, or is deemed to be, a triad society. (Added 10 of
1996 s. 3)

(5) For the purposes of this section and sections 3 and 4, proceedings (程序) means any proceedings in Hong Kong
by any court, body or person having power to determine any application by, or any question affecting the rights,
privileges, obligations or liabilities of, any person or to receive evidence affecting the determination of any such
application or question.

(6) For the purposes of subsections (1)(i), (ii) and (iii) and (1A)(i), (ii) and (iii) and section 3, a conviction shall
include-
(a) the offence which was the subject of that conviction;
(b) the conduct or circumstances constituting that offence; and
(c) anything relating to that conviction which, if disclosed, would tend to show that the individual committed,

was charged with, was prosecuted for, was convicted of or was sentenced for the offence which was the
subject of the conviction.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (1B)(a), (b) and (c) and section 3, a payment or an order to pay shall include-
(a) the offence or contravention which was the subject of that payment or order to pay;
(b) the conduct or circumstances constituting that offence or contravention; and
(c) anything relating to that payment or order to pay which, if disclosed, would tend to show that the individual

committed, was charged with, was prosecuted for, was convicted of or was sentenced for the offence or
contravention which was the subject of the payment or order to pay. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 3)

(Enacted 1986)
(Amended 10 of 1996 s. 3)


Section: 3 Exceptions relating to proceedings E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


(1) Nothing in section 2 shall affect-
(a) the recovery of any fine or other sum adjudged to be paid;
(b) any proceedings in respect of a breach of a condition or requirement imposed following a conviction; or
(c) the operation of any law under which the individual is subject to any disqualification, disability, prohibition

or other penalty.
(2) Nothing in section 2 shall affect the determination of any issue, or prevent the admission or requirement of any

evidence, relating to the conviction-
(a) in any proceedings relating to the interests of an infant;
(aa) in any proceedings relating to the consideration of an application as a foster parent; (Added 10 of 1996 s. 4)
(b) in any proceedings where the individual expressly consents to the admission of evidence relating to the

conviction; or
(c) in any proceedings where the tribunal is satisfied that justice cannot be done except by the admission of

evidence relating to the conviction.
(3) Nothing in section 2 shall prevent the admission of any evidence relating to the conviction of an individual, for

sentencing purposes, in any criminal proceedings in which he is subsequently convicted of a further offence.
(Added 10 of 1996 s. 4)

(4) Nothing in section 2 shall prevent the admission of any evidence relating to the conviction of an individual in
any criminal proceedings if he is subsequently convicted of a further offence, regardless of whether he is the
defendant. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 4)

(Enacted 1986)



Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 4


Section: 4 Further exceptions E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


(1) Section 2(1) and (1A) shall not apply to- (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(a) proceedings in respect of a person's admission as, or disciplinary proceedings against a person practising as,

a barrister, a solicitor or an accountant;
(b) disciplinary proceedings against a person holding a prescribed office; (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(c) proceedings relating to a person's suitability to be granted, or to continue to hold, any licence, permit or

dispensation, or to be registered, or continue to be registered, under any law;
(d) proceedings relating to a person's suitability to be appointed to, or continue in, any prescribed office; and

(Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(e) proceedings under the Insurance Companies Ordinance (Cap 41)-

(i) relating to a person's suitability to be authorized as an insurer; (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(ii) by the Insurance Authority in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by sections 27 to 35, 66, 67,

69, 70, 75 and 76 of that Ordinance; (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(iii) relating to a person's suitability to become or continue to be a director or controllor of an authorized

insurer; (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(iv) relating to a person's suitability to become or continue to be an insurance broker authorized by the

Insurance Authority under section 69 of that Ordinance, or to be a member of a body of insurance
brokers approved by the Insurance Authority under section 70 of that Ordinance; (Added 10 of 1996 s.
5)

(v) relating to the approval of a body of insurance brokers, including the assessment of whether the
persons who manage or supervise the body of insurance brokers are fit and proper persons to do so, by
the Insurance Authority under section 70 of that Ordinance; or (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(vi) relating to the appointment, registration and de-registration of an insurance agent for the purposes of
Part X of that Ordinance; (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(ea) proceedings under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Cap 485)-
(i) relating to a person's suitability to become or continue to be an approved trustee or a controller of an

approved trustee; or
(ii) relating to a person's suitability to become or continue to be a trustee or controller of a trustee of an

occupational retirement scheme in respect of which the members or a class of members and their
employer are exempted under section 5 of that Ordinance or the subject of an application referred to in
subsection (2)(a) of that section; (Added 4 of 1998 s. 11)

(f) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (c), proceedings under the Banking Ordinance (Cap 155)
relating to a person's suitability to become or continue to be a controller, director, chief executive or
alternate chief executive of an authorized institution; and (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(g) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (c), proceedings under section 73 of the Banking Ordinance
(Cap 155) relating to the prohibition of certain persons from acting as the employees of authorized
institutions except with the consent of the Monetary Authority. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(2) Section 2(1) and (1A) shall not apply to any question asked by or on behalf of any person, in the course of the
duties of his office or employment, or any obligation to disclose information to that person in the course of those
duties, in order to assess the suitability of another person- (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(a) for admission as a barrister, solicitor or accountant; or
(b) for the grant of, or to continue to hold, any licence, permit or dispensation, or for registration, or to continue

to be registered, under any law; or
(c) for appointment to any prescribed office; or (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 5)
(d) to be authorized as an insurer under the Insurance Companies Ordinance (Cap 41), or to be authorized

insurance broker, or a person who manages or supervises an approved body of insurance brokers or an
appointed insurance agent for the purposes of section 2(1) and Part X of that Ordinance; or (Amended 10
of 1996 s. 5)

(e) to become or continue to be a controller, director, chief executive or alternate chief executive of an
authorized institution under the Banking Ordinance (Cap 155); or (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(f) to act as the employees of authorized institutions as defined in the Banking Ordinance (Cap 155); or
(Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(g) to be appointed as a foster parent; or (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)



Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 5

(h) to become or continue to be a director or controller of an authorized insurer under the Insurance Companies
Ordinance (Cap 41). (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(3) Section 2(1) and (1A) shall not apply to any dismissal or exclusion of an individual from practising as a
barrister, solicitor or accountant or from any prescribed office. (Replaced 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(4) Section 2(1B) shall not apply to any question asked by or on behalf of any employer or any individual who
intends to employ a vocational driver, or any obligation to disclose information, regarding the suitability of
another person for employment or continued employment as a vocational driver, unless a period of 3 years has
elapsed from the date of payment or order to pay (whichever is the earlier) which is referred to in section 2(1B).
(Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(5) Section 2(1B) shall not apply to any dismissal or exclusion of an individual from his employment as a vocational
driver unless a period of 3 years has elapsed from the date of payment or order to pay (whichever is the earlier)
which is referred to in section 2(1B). (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(6) Section 2(1B) shall not apply to any question asked by or on behalf of an insurer for the purpose of assessing
and pricing a risk in respect of vehicle insurance, unless a period of 3 years has elapsed from the date of payment
or order to pay (whichever is the earlier) which is referred to in section 2(1B). (Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(7) Section 2 shall not apply to any action taken for the purposes of safeguarding the security of Hong Kong.
(Added 10 of 1996 s. 5)

(8) For the purposes of subsection (1)(ea), controller (控權人), in relation to an approved trustee of a mandatory
provident fund scheme, or a trustee of an occupational retirement scheme, that is a company, has the same
meaning as in section 2(1) of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Cap 485). (Added 4 of 1998
s. 11)

(Enacted 1986)

Section: 5 Exception relating to defamation actions E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


Nothing in this Ordinance shall apply to any action for defamation begun-
(a) before the commencement of this Ordinance; or
(b) after the commencement of this Ordinance in relation to an alleged defamation committed before the

commencement of this Ordinance or before the lapse of the period mentioned in section 2(1)(c).
(Enacted 1986)


Section: 6 Disclosure of information E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 15 of 1999 s. 3

(1) Subject to subsections (4) and (5), any person who has or, at any time, has had custody of or access to any

records kept by a public officer relating to persons convicted of offences, or any information contained therein,
and who, otherwise than in the course of his duties as a public officer, discloses any information specified in
subsection (3) to any other person commits an offence and is liable to a fine at level 4.

(2) Any person who obtains any information specified in subsection (3) from any record kept by a public officer by
means of any fraud or dishonesty commits an offence and is liable to a fine at level 5 and to imprisonment for 6
months.

(3) The information mentioned in subsections (1) and (2) is any information contained in the records mentioned in
those subsections which tends to show that a named or otherwise identifiable individual to whom section 2(1),
(1A) or (1B) applies committed, was charged with, was prosecuted for, was convicted of or was sentenced for an
offence. (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 6)

(4) The Chief Executive may, in such circumstances as he thinks fit, authorize the disclosure of any information
specified in subsection (3) and subsection (1) shall not apply to any person acting under that authority.
(Amended 15 of 1999 s. 3)

(5) The individual to whom section 2(1),(1A) or (1B) applies may authorize the disclosure of any information
specified in subsection (3) which relates to him and subsection (1) shall not apply to any person acting under that
authority. (Amended 10 of 1996 s. 6)

(Amended E.R. 1 of 2012)
(Enacted 1986)



Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 6


Section: 7 (Amendments incorporated) 30/06/1997


(Amendments incorporated)
(Enacted 1986)


Section: 8 (Amendments incorporated) 30/06/1997


(Amendments incorporated)
(Enacted 1986)


Section: 9 Prescribed offices E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 15 of 1999 s. 3

(1) The offices mentioned in the Schedule are prescribed offices for the purposes of this Ordinance. (Amended 10

of 1996 s. 7)
(2) The Chief Executive in Council may by order published in the Gazette amend the Schedule. (Amended 15 of

1999 s. 3)
(Enacted 1986)


Schedule: Schedule E.R. 1 of 2012 09/02/2012


[section 9]


Prescribed Offices


Part 1


Public Offices
(Replaced 10 of 1996 s. 8)

1. Any judicial office.

2. Any office of police officer in the Hong Kong Police Force or the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force.

(Amended L.N. 362 of 1997; L.N. 140 of 1999; 58 of 1999 s. 8)

3. Any office in the Correctional Services Department the holder of which is remunerated by reference to the

General Disciplined Services Pay Scale. (Replaced L.N. 140 of 1999)

4. Any office of principal probation officer or probation officer to which a person is appointed under section 9 of

the Probation of Offenders Ordinance (Cap 298).

5. Any office in the Customs and Excise Service mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Customs and Excise Service

Ordinance (Cap 342). (Amended 68 of 1995 s. 2)

6. Any office in the Immigration Service mentioned in the Schedule to the Immigration Service Ordinance (Cap

331).

7. Any office occupied, or to be occupied, by an officer on or above Point 27 on the Master Pay Scale. (Amended

10 of 1996 s. 8)

8. Any office occupied, or to be occupied, by an officer on the Directorate or Directorate (Judicial/Legal Group)

Pay Scale.




Cap 297 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance 7

9. Any person holding any rank in the Fire Services Department set out in the Sixth Schedule to the Fire Services
Ordinance (Cap 95).


10. Any office of the Directorate staff, the Commission Against Corruption Officer grade staff or in the Operations

Department of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 8)

11. Any office occupied by the executive, professional, managerial, technical or secretarial staff of the Hong Kong

Monetary Authority. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 8)

12. Any office of the insurance officer grade staff (including the Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner) or the

secretarial staff of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. (Added 10 of 1996 s. 8)

13. Any office occupied by the executive, professional, managerial, technical, inspectorate or secretarial staff of the

Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. (Added 4 of 1998 s. 11)

14. Any office of Senior Officer or Officer in the Government Flying Service mentioned in Schedule 1 to the

Government Flying Service (General) Regulation (Cap 322 sub. leg. B) (Added L.N. 140 of 1999)


Part 2


Other Offices


1. Any office occupied by the executive staff (including the Executive Directors) or the secretarial staff of the
Securities and Futures Commission.

(Part 2 added 10 of 1996 s. 8)

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