Q&A on Letters of Objection Issued by the Police
Q1. 警察於 7 月25 日已經就 7 月 27 日元朗集會遊行 (下午 3 點到 晚上 11:59)發出反對通知書。如果我參與到時的集會同遊行,係咪犯法?
- 根據《公安條例》(香港法例第 245 章) 第 13(1)(b) 條,公眾遊行只可以喺警方發
- 但係,喺 7 月 25 日,警方不但冇發出不反對通知書,更加發出咗反對通知書。
- 如果 7 月 27日嘅遊行繼續,咁遊行就會係《公安條例》第 17A(2)(a) 條下嘅未經
Q1. The police have issued a letter of objection on 25 July in respect of the proposed meeting and procession from 3pm onwards on 27 July at Yuen Long. Would it be unlawful if I took part in it?
- Section 13 of the Public Order Ordinance (Cap. 245) provides that a public
procession may take place if, but only if, the Commissioner of Police has notified
the person that he has no objection to the procession taking place or is deemed
to have issued a notice of no objection.
- However, on 25 July, the Commissioner of Police has not only refused to issue a
notice of no objection, but in fact issued a notice of objection.
- If the procession proceeds to take place on 27 July, it would be an “unauthorized
assembly” under s.17A(2)(a) of the Ordinance.
- The Police will also have the power under s.17 of the Ordinance to use
reasonable force to prevent the holding of such an unauthorised assembly, or to
stop or disperse such an unauthorised assembly.
- 兩者最高刑罰:HK$5,000罰款 + 監禁5年。
- 根據以往有關第17A條嘅案例,似乎大部分被告人只係被判罰款。 但係,呢啲案
Q2. What could I be charged with? What are the penalties?
- Anyone who takes part in or forms part of such an assembly: an offence under
- Anyone who convenes, holds, organizes, forms or collects such an assembly, or
assists or is concerned in doing so: an offence under s.17A(3)(b)(i).
- Maximum penalty for both of the above: $5,000 fine and imprisonment for 5
- In previous cases concerning convictions under s.17A, it seems that the
defendants have mostly been fined. However, none of those convictions
concerned an assembly for which a notice of objection had been issued. Taking
part in or convening an assembly for which a notice of objection had been issued
beforehand is likely to be viewed more seriously by the courts.
- 如果你被起訴,咁就要睇下法庭信唔信你無參加該非法集會而只係路過 。
Q3. What if I merely “passed by” the relevant area in Yuen Long to, for example, meet my friends or buy a “Lor Por Beng”?
- This is a question of fact and whether in the end, if you are charged, the Court
believes that you did not take part in the unlawful assembly.
- The Court would take into account of other objective evidence in addition to your
version of facts, such as whether there might be objects seized from you that are
related to processions (e.g. slogans, helmets, plastic cable ties). The Court could
also consider whether there are video clips showing your actions, and matter
such as your reaction to the appeal of the police at the scene.
Q4. 《公安條例》話「集會」嘅定義不包括為宗教目的而進行嘅聚集或集結,咁我哋集埋一班人唱「Sing Hallelujah to the Lord」係咪就冇事呀?
Q4. Since the Ordinance defines that a “meeting” does not include any gathering or assembly organized exclusively for religious purposes, does it mean that if A group of us with more than 50 people joined together to “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” then we would face no legal trouble?
- Meetings convened exclusively for religious purposes are exempted under s.2 of
- But it does not mean that singing hymns in a group would exempt you from legal
liability. The Court will not just look at the form of the meeting, but will also look at
the actual content of the meeting and other relevant factors (such as whether
there is participation by religious groups or clergymen, their degree of
participation, whether the meeting includes promoting political messages, etc), in
deciding whether the meeting is solely convened for religious purposes.
Therefore, there could still be a risk if more than 50 of you joined together to sing
hymns in order to promote political messages.
- There is no religious purpose exemption for “processions”.
- 為殯殮而舉行嘅集會先有豁免。 但係,為殯殮而舉行嘅公眾遊行,係需要事先通
Q5. How about joining the memorial meeting?
- A funeral is exempt from the definition of a “meeting” under the Ordinance.
However, any “procession” for the purpose of a funeral does require advance
notice to the police and a letter of no objection from the police.
- Notice also has to be given to the police if there is a memorial meeting.
Otherwise, the meeting could amount to “unlawful assembly”.