Public Order (Preservation) Act


Published: 1969

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Public Order (Preservation) Act


1988 Revised Edition






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PUBLIC ORDER (PRESERVATION) ACT

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Arrangement of Sections




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PUBLIC ORDER (PRESERVATION) ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section
1 Short title..........................................................................................................5

PART I. - PRELIMINARY 5
2 Interpretation....................................................................................................5

PART II.- PROCEDURE AND POWERS RELATING TO AN
AREA PROCLAIMED DANGEROUS TO PUBLIC ORDER 7
3 Proclamation of state of danger to public order. ..............................................7
4 Governing Authority may delegate power to issue proclamation....................7
5 Power to close or to regulate use of roads etc..................................................8
6 Power to prohibit and disperse assemblies. .....................................................8
7 Power to erect barriers etc................................................................................8
8 Power to impose curfew...................................................................................9
9 Power to exclude persons from certain areas...................................................9
10 Power to discontinue telephone services. ......................................................10
11 Control of persons..........................................................................................10
12 Power to search etc. .......................................................................................11
13 Disposal of property seized............................................................................12
14 Arrest and detention.......................................................................................12
15 Arrested and detained person deemed in lawful custody...............................12
16 Use of lethal weapon in effecting arrests etc. ................................................12
17 Control of arms. .............................................................................................13
18 Power of armed forces. ..................................................................................13
19 Photographs, finger prints etc. of persons arrested or detained may be

made. Cap. 35 ................................................................................................14

Arrangement of Sections CAP. 38 Public Order (Preservation) Act




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20 Promulgation and cancellation of orders etc. .................................................14

PART III. - OFFENCES RELATING TO PUBLIC ORDER 14
21 Use of offensive weapon etc. an offence........................................................14
22 Consorting with persons who use offensive weapons etc. an offence............15
23 Possessing of carrying offensive weapon etc. an offence. .............................15
24 Presumption....................................................................................................16
25 Penalty............................................................................................................16
26 Provoking a breach of the peace.....................................................................17
27 Offences relating to breach of peace. .............................................................17
28 Law relating to criminal offences not affected...............................................17


SCHEDULE 18

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 1




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C
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PUBLIC ORDER (PRESERVATION) ACT

Act 10 of 1969

AN ACT TO BETTER PROVIDE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OR
RESTORATION OF PUBLIC ORDER IN CASE OF EMERGENCY AND

FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Commencement [31st March, 1970]

1 Short title.
This Act may be cited as the Public Order (Preservation) Act.

PART I. - PRELIMINARY

2 Interpretation.
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears —

“corrosive substance” includes any of the acids and substances specified
in the Schedule to this Act and any other substance which is capable on
application to the human body of causing hurt through corrosive action;

“explosive substance” includes any material for making any explosive
substance and any bomb, grenade, apparatus, machine, implement or
material used or intended to be used or adopted for causing or aiding in

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causing any explosion in or with any explosive substance and any part of
such bomb, grenade, apparatus, machine or implement;

“hurt” includes a disease or disorder of the human body, whether
permanent or temporary;

“offensive weapon” includes any instrument which, if used as a weapon
of offence, is likely to cause hurt;

“police officer” includes a special police officer of the Police Force of the
Kingdom;

“proclaimed area” means an area in respect of which a proclamation
made or renewed under section 4 of this Act is for the time being in force;

“subversive document” means a document which contains —
(a) a matter expressive of seditious intention within the meaning

of the Criminal Offences Act;
(b) a matter likely to be prejudicial to the maintenance or

restoration of public order;
(c) a matter expressive of counselling disobedience to a law of

the Kingdom;
(d) a matter inciting or promoting, or likely to incite or promote,

unlawful violence, feeling of ill-will or hostility between
different races or classes of the population of the Kingdom;
or

(e) a matter inciting or promoting, or likely to incite or promote,
disaffection, hatred or contempt, against a civil servant or a
member of an armed force lawfully in the Kingdom in the
execution of his duties;

“Governing Authority” means the Prime Minister, with the advice of
either the Minister of Police, or a person lawfully discharging the duties of
that officer, or a Minister charged with the responsibility for internal
security;

“the Superintendent” means the Superintendent of Police or police
officer for the time being lawfully authorised to exercise the powers and
perform the duties of the Superintendent.

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 3




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PART II. - PROCEDURE AND POWERS RELATING TO AN
AREA PROCLAIMED DANGEROUS TO PUBLIC ORDER

3 Proclamation of state of danger to public order.
(1) The Governing Authority may proclaim the existence of a state of a

danger to public order in an area in the Kingdom where, in its opinion —
(a) public order in that area is seriously threatened or disturbed; and
(b) it is necessary for the purpose of maintaining or restoring public

order to make the proclamation. (2) A proclamation made under
subsection (1) applies only to the area specified in the proclamation
and remains in force until it is revoked by the Governing Authority,
or ceases to have effect in accordance with the provisions of this
section.

(3) The proclamation ceases to have effect on the expiration of one month
from the date on which it is made or, if it is renewed, on the expiration of
the time for which it is renewed.

(4) The Governing Authority may renew the proclamation from time to time
for such period, not exceeding one month at a time, as may be specified.

(5) The proclamation or its renewal shall be published in such manner as the
Governing Authority deems necessary for bringing it to the notice of
persons who in its opinion ought to have notice of it, and shall have effect
as soon as it is so published.

(6) A copy of the proclamation or its renewal shall, as soon as possible after it
is made, be laid before Privy Council, and if Privy Council annuls it, the
proclamation or its renewal shall cease to have effect notwithstanding the
provision of subsections (3) and (4) of this section but without prejudice
to anything done before the annulment.

4 Governing Authority may delegate power to issue proclamation.
(1) The Governing Authority may delegate any of its powers under section 3

to the Governor of a district other than Tongatapu.

(2) A power delegated under this section may be exercised by the delegate in
the district in respect of which he is the Governor.

(3) A delegation under this section is revocable at will and does not prevent
the exercise of the power by the Governing Authority.

Section 5 CAP. 38 Public Order (Preservation) Act




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5 Power to close or to regulate use of roads etc.
In any proclaimed area a police officer in charge of a Police Station or a police
officer not below the rank of sub-inspector may by order or by giving directions
or in any manner he thinks fit under the circumstances regulate, restrict, control
or prohibit the use of any road, street, path, waterway or public place by any
person, vehicle or vessel or by any class of persons, vehicles or vessels.

6 Power to prohibit and disperse assemblies.
(1) In a proclaimed area a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector

or a police officer in charge of a Police Station may, either absolutely or
subject to such conditions as he may think necessary, prohibit the holding
of a meeting or procession, or the assembly of 5 or more persons in a
place or building (whether public or private) in that area.

(2) A police officer in charge of a Police Station or any police officer not
below the rank of sergeant may order a meeting, procession or any
assembly of 5 or more persons held in a place or building (whether public
or private) in a proclaimed area to disperse and upon the making of the
order, the members of the meeting, procession or assembly shall disperse
accordingly.

(3) A police officer may use such force as may be necessary in the interest of
public security (including the use of lethal weapons) to disperse a
meeting, procession or assembly prohibited, or ordered to be dispersed,
under this section.

7 Power to erect barriers etc.
(1) Barriers may be erected or placed in or across a road, street, path,

waterway or any public place whenever it is deemed necessary by a police
officer for the preservation of law and order, for the prevention or
detection of crimes, or in relation to the exercise of the powers conferred
by section 5 of this Act.

(2) A person, whether on foot or in a vehicle or vessel, shall comply with an
instruction, direction or signal of a police officer requiring that person to
stop at, before or after reaching the barrier.

(3) A police officer may take all reasonable steps and may use such force as
may be necessary (including the use of lethal weapons) to prevent a
person, whether on foot or in a vehicle or vessel, from passing the barrier
contrary to an instruction, direction or signal.

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 8




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8 Power to impose curfew.
(1) In a proclaimed area the Governing Authority, police officer not below the

rank of sub-inspector or a police officer in charge of a Police Station in
that area may, subject to such exemptions as may be made, order every
person within the area to remain indoors between such hours as may be
specified.

(2) The Governing Authority may vary or cancel any order made by a police
officer under subsection (1).

(3) An order under this section shall not apply to —
(a) His Majesty the King;
(b) the Prime Minister;
(c) the Governor of a district;
(d) a police officer, or member of a naval, military or air force

established or serving in the Kingdom when on duty; or
(e) a person or class of persons exempted under subsection (1) of this

section.

9 Power to exclude persons from certain areas.
(1) In a proclaimed area a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector

or a police officer in charge of a Police Station may, subject to such
exceptions as may be made, by order, direction or otherwise —
(a) prohibit a person or class of persons from entering into the area

under his charge, or into a place or building in that area; and
(b) regulate the movement and conduct of a person or class of persons

within the area under his charge.

(2) A police officer may search, or detain for the purpose of searching, a
person referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1), but a female
shall not be searched except by another female.

(3) A person who fails to comply with an order, direction or otherwise made
under subsection (1) may be removed by a police officer from the area,
place or building without prejudice to any proceeding which may be taken
against that person.

(4) The Governing Authority may vary or cancel an order or direction made
by a police officer in exercise of the powers conferred by subsection (1).

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10 Power to discontinue telephone services.
(1) The Governing Authority may by written instrument direct a

telecommunication authority to withdraw or suspend either in whole or in
part all or any telecommunication service to and from, or within a
proclaimed area.

(2) A telecommunication authority directed by the Governing Authority under
subsection (1) shall, notwithstanding the provisions of any agreement or
law to the contrary, forthwith withdraw or suspend the telecommunication
service as specified in the direction.

(3) In this section —

“telecommunication authority” means the authority charged with the
administration of the Telephones Act. (Cap. 97)

11 Control of persons.
(1) Where it appears to a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector, or

to a police officer in charge of a Police Station in a proclaimed area, that a
person —
(a) has recently been concerned in acts —

(i) involving or likely to involve, cause or provoke a breach of
the peace in a proclaimed area; or

(ii) likely to be prejudicial to the success of measures taken to
maintain or to restore public order in a proclaimed area;

(b) is concerned in the preparation or instigation of any of the acts
mentioned in the last preceding paragraph; or

(c) is likely to be concerned in any of the acts mentioned in paragraph
(a) by reason of his association with any person or organisation
concerned in those acts, or otherwise,

that police officer may exercise in relation to that person all or any of the
powers referred to in subsection (2).

(2) The following are the powers referred to in subsection (1) and which may
be exercised over and in relation to a person referred to in paragraphs (a),
(b) and (c) of that subsection: —
(a) to order that person to be excluded from the proclaimed area or any

part of it;
(b) to order that person to reside in such place or area, whether in the

proclaimed area or not, as may be specified and not to leave that
area without permission and subject to such conditions as may be
specified;

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 12




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(c) to order that person to remain within doors during such hours as
may be specified;

(d) to order that person to report to the Police at such times, dates and
places as may be specified;

(e) to order that person to enter into a bond for such amount and with
such securities as may be specified for his good behaviour or for
due compliance with any orders made under this subsection.

(3) An order made under this section may be cancelled or varied by the
Governing Authority but shall not have effect after the area in connection
with which the order was made or varied has ceased to be a
proclaimed area.

12 Power to search etc.
(1) Where in a proclaimed area any person, premises, vehicle, vessel or

aircraft, is suspected to have or to contain evidence of the commission of
an offence, to have or contain any offensive weapon or subversive
document or any other thing whatever capable of being used to cause
injury to a person or property, a police officer of or above the rank of
sergeant may, with or without any warrant or assistance —
(a) stop and search that person;
(b) enter and search the premises;
(c) stop, board and search that vessel, vehicle or aircraft (not being a

naval, military or airforce vessel, vehicle or aircraft) and;
(d) seize the evidence, offensive weapon and subversive document

found in or on that person, premises, vehicle, vessel or aircraft as
well as any other thing which he has reasonable grounds to believe
is intended or likely to be used to cause injury to person or
property.

(2) A police officer of or above the rank of sergeant may with or without any
warrant or assistance search a person or vehicle referred to in subsection
(1) where that person or vehicle is in or on any public road or place and
may likewise seize the evidence, offensive weapon, subversive document
or thing referred to in that subsection and found in or on that person or
vehicle.

(3) Where a police officer under subsection (2) (being a police officer of or
above the rank of sergeant) has reasonable grounds for believing that any
matter liable to be seized under subsection (1) is likely to be removed, lost
or destroyed in the absence of an officer of or above the rank of sergeant,
that police officer may exercise any one or more of the powers and
authority conferred by subsection (1).

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(4) A female shall not be searched under this section except by another
female.

13 Disposal of property seized
An offensive weapon, subversive document, corrosive or explosive substance or
ammunition seized by or come into possession of a police officer under section
12 may be disposed of in such manner as the Governing Authority may direct.

14 Arrest and detention.
(1) A police officer may without warrant arrest a person suspected on

reasonable grounds of having committed an offence against this Act.

(2) A police officer may in a proclaimed area without warrant arrest a person
in respect of whom he has reason to believe to be a person within the
meaning of paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (1) of section 11 of
this Act.

(3) A person arrested under the last preceding subsection may be detained for
a period not exceeding 24 hours and may be dealt with under section 11 of
this Act.

(4) A police officer may in a proclaimed area without warrant arrest a person
ordered to be excluded from the area under section 11 of this Act and may
detain the person arrested for a period not exceeding 24 hours for the
purpose of removing him from that area.

15 Arrested and detained person deemed in lawful custody.
A person detained under the powers conferred by this Act shall be deemed to be
in lawful custody and may be detained in a prison, police station or in any other
similar place authorised generally or specially by a police officer not below the
rank of sub-inspector or an officer in charge of a police station.

16 Use of lethal weapon in effecting arrests etc.
Notwithstanding anything contained in any law to the contrary, a police officer
may, in order —

(a) to effect the arrest of a person who fails to comply with an order
made under section 8 of this Act, or whom that officer suspects on
reasonable grounds to have committed in a proclaimed area an
offence against sections 21, 22, 23 or 27 of this Act;

(b) to overcome forcible resistance offered by or in aid of a person
being arrested under paragraph (a); or

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 17




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(c) to prevent the escape or the rescue of a person arrested under this
section,

use such force as in the circumstances of the case may be reasonably necessary,
which force may extend to the use of lethal weapons.

17 Control of arms.
During the period in which a proclamation under section 3 of this Act is in force,
the Governing Authority may by order, notwithstanding the provisions of any
licences or permits issued in respect of arms —

(a) prohibit the use, possession or custody of arms by any person in any
part of the Kingdom for such period as may be specified; and

(b) provide for —
(i) the taking of arms into custody;
(ii) the cancellation or suspension of licences or permits for arms

for the period specified;
(iii) the giving of notice of the order to any persons who in its

opinion ought to have notice of the order; and
(iv) the carrying of the order into effect generally.

18 Power of armed forces.
(1) A commander of any armed forces serving in the Kingdom and a member

of those armed forces may, when engaged on duty connected with the
maintenance or restoration of public order, exercise any of the powers
conferred upon a police officer by section 5, subsections (2) and (3) of
section 6, section 7, subsections (2) and (3) of section 9, subsections (1),
(2) and (3) of section 12, subsection (1) of section 14, and section 16 in
like manner as if references in those sections and subsections to a police
officer were references to a member of the armed forces of equivalent
rank.

(2) For the purposes of this section —
(a) “commander” means a commissioned officer for the time being in

command of members of the armed forces;
(b) a commissioned officer of any armed forces shall be deemed to be

of equivalent rank to a police officer above the rank of a sergeant
major;

(c) a sergeant major of any armed forces shall be deemed to be of
equivalent rank to a police officer of the rank of sergeant major;
and

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(d) a sergeant or petty officer of any armed forces shall be deemed to
be of equivalent rank to a police officer of the rank of sergeant.

19 Photographs, finger prints etc. of persons arrested or detained may
be made.
The provisions of the Police Act, or of any other Act relating to the taking of
finger impressions, photographs, descriptions, measurements, palmprints or
footprints of persons in lawful custody shall apply to persons arrested and
detained under this Act.

20 Promulgation and cancellation of orders etc.
(1) Where an order or direction is given or made under the provisions of this

Part of this Act, the person or persons giving or making the order or
direction shall, unless it is otherwise provided, cause notice of the order or
direction to be published in such manner as he or they think necessary to
bring the notice to the attention of such persons as in his or their opinion
ought to be aware of the notice, and the order or direction shall have effect
as soon as the notice is so published.

(2) An order or direction made under the provisions of this Part of the Act
may at any time during its currency be cancelled by a person empowered
to make the order or direction, but the cancellation shall not affect the
validity of the order or direction or anything done thereunder before
cancellation.

PART III. - OFFENCES RELATING TO PUBLIC ORDER

21 Use of offensive weapon etc. an offence.
A person who, in a proclaimed area, unlawfully or maliciously —

(a) uses an offensive weapon in a manner likely to endanger life or
cause serious injury to person or property;

(b) causes, by an explosive substance, an explosion of a nature likely to
endanger life or cause serious injury to person or property; or

(c) uses any corrosive or inflammable substance in a manner likely to
endanger life or cause serious injury to person or property

commits an offence, whether injury to person or property has actually been
caused or not, and is on conviction liable to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding 10 years.

Public Order (Preservation) Act CAP. 38 Section 22




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22 Consorting with persons who use offensive weapons etc. an
offence.
(1) Where a person consorts with, or is found in the company of another

person who —
(a) is committing, attempting to commit or doing an act in preparation

for the commission of, an offence under section 21 of this Act; or
(b) has recently committed, recently attempted to commit or recently

done any act in preparation for the commission of, an offence under
section 21 of this Act,

that first mentioned person commits an offence if the manner in which he
consorts with, or the circumstances in which he is found in the company
of, that other person raise a reasonable presumption that he intends or is
about to act, or has recently acted, with that other person in a manner
prejudicial to the maintenance or restoration of public order in a
proclaimed area.

(2) A person convicted for an offence under this section is liable to a term of
imprisonment not exceeding 7 years.

23 Possessing of carrying offensive weapon etc. an offence.
(1) A person who, in a public place in a proclaimed area, carries or has in his

possession or under his control an offensive weapon, or an explosive,
corrosive or inflammable substance, commits an offence unless that
person proves that the weapon, or the substance was being carried by him
or was in his possession or under his control solely for some lawful
purpose.

(2) A person convicted for an offence under subsection (1) is liable to a term
of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

(3) A person who, in a place (other than a public place) within a proclaimed
area, has in his possession or under his control an offensive weapon, or an
explosive, corrosive or inflammable substance, in circumstances which
raise a reasonable presumption that the weapon or the substance is
intended to be used for a purpose prejudicial to the maintenance or
restoration of public order, commits an offence unless that person proves
that he had the weapon or the substance in his possession or under his
control solely for a lawful purpose.

(4) A person convicted for an offence under subsection (3) is liable to a term
of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.

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24 Presumption.
(1) Where an offensive weapon, or an explosive, corrosive or inflammable

substance is found in or on any premises, the occupier of those premises is
deemed to be in possession of the weapon or the substance unless he
proves that —
(a) another person was in possession of the weapon or the substance; or
(b) he had no knowledge or reasonable means of knowing that the

weapon or the substance was in or on those premises, and that he
had taken all reasonable precautions against the weapon or
substance being kept in or on those premises.

(2) In a prosecution under subsection (3) of section 23, it shall be presumed
until the contrary be proved, that weapons or substances referred to in that
subsection were intended to be used for a purpose prejudicial to the
maintenance or restoration of public order if —
(a) the number of weapons or the quantity of the substances found —

(i) exceeded the number or quantity reasonably required to be
kept by the accused person for ordinary use and consumption
in his household or establishment; and

(ii) in the case of an accused person carrying on a business,
exceeded the number or quantity reasonably required to be
kept in the ordinary course of that business;

(b) the weapons or substances were kept concealed or in a place other
than that in which they might reasonably be expected to be kept for
domestic or, in the case of an accused person carrying on business,
for business purposes; or

(c) the weapon or substances were kept in containers other than
containers of a kind in which the weapons or substances are
ordinarily kept for domestic or, in the case of an accused person
carrying on business, for business purposes.

25 Penalty.
(1) A person who contravenes or fails to comply with —

(a) a provision of this Act; or
(b) an order, direction, prohibition, instruction, signal or requirement

made or given pursuant to a provision of this Act,

commits an offence and is on conviction liable, where no other penalty is
specifically provided, to a fine not exceeding $100 or to a term of
imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to both the fine and the
imprisonment.

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26 Provoking a breach of the peace.
A person who, in any place in a proclaimed area, uses any threatening, abusive
or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or
whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, commits an offence
and is on conviction liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.

27 Offences relating to breach of peace.
A person who, in any place in the Kingdom and during any period in which a
proclamation under section 3 of this Act is in force in respect of any area in the
Kingdom, does an act or utters any word, or prints, publishes, sells, offers for
sale, distributes or reproduces for distribution, imports or has in his possession
any document containing any matter which —

(a) is likely to be prejudicial to the maintenance or restoration of public
order in the proclaimed area or in any other part of the Kingdom;

(b) counsels or is likely to lead to disobedience to the law of the
Kingdom or to any lawful order made thereunder or to the
obstruction of public officers in the execution of their duty to
restore or maintain public order;

(c) incites or is likely to cause unlawful violence or to promote feelings
of ill will or hostility between different races or classes of the
population of the Kingdom; or

(d) is likely to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection
against any public servant in the execution of his duty or against
any class of public servants or against any armed force lawfully in
the Kingdom or any member of such force in the execution of his
duty,

commits an offence and is on conviction liable to a term of imprisonment not
exceeding 3 years.

28 Law relating to criminal offences not affected.
Nothing in this Part affects any other law relating to criminal offences provided
that a person shall not be punished twice for the same offence.



SCHEDULE CAP. 38 Public Order (Preservation) Act




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SCHEDULE

(Section 2)

Acetic acid Ammonia
Formic acid Potassium hydroxide
Hydrochloric acid Phenols
Nitric acid Sodium hydroxide
Sulphuric acid

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