Hong Kong (China)

21,714

Immigration detainees

2018

No Data

Detained children

10

New asylum applications

2019

128

Refugees

2019

2,942,254

International migrants

2019

Overview

Immigration detention policies in Hong Kong have been driven by concerns over migration flows from mainland China and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia, in particular Vietnam. For many years, Hong Kong was the “first port of refuge” for refugees fleeing Vietnam, even though most arriving Vietnamese “boat people” were held in deplorable conditions in secure detention camps. Since China resumed sovereignty over it, Hong Kong has ended its practice of accepting Vietnamese migrants and vigorously defended its policy of refusing all asylum seekers, who are generally treated as unauthorized immigrants.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

Related Reading

25 August 2020

Protesters Protesting On the Conditions of Detention and Indefinite Detention at CIC, (Grassmediaaction,
Protesters Protesting On the Conditions of Detention and Indefinite Detention at CIC, (Grassmediaaction, "Almost 3 Weeks on Hunger Strike: The Castle Peak Black Prison Keeps Disregarding Human Lives, While Supporters are Breaking the Boundaries of Sex and Ethnicity," 18 July 2020, https://grassmediaction.wordpress.com/2020/07/18/almost-3-weeks-on-hunger-strike-the-castle-peak-black-prison-keeps-disregarding-human-lives-while-supporters-are-breaking-the-boundaries-of-sex-and-ethnicity/)

Amid a resurgence in the number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong, on 19 August a 37-year old Thai man detained at Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre (CIC) was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19. The Centre for Health Protection subsequently announced that it would test approximately 200 Immigration Department staff and 400 detainees.

On 20 June, more than 20 detainees from India, Pakistan, and various African countries launched a hunger strike in protest over their indefinite detention at the facility. As of 25 August, some detainees remained on strike, after 58 days. At its peak, there were 28 participants in the hunger strike: four detainees have been released and two hospitalised. Upon release from hospital, one person reported being physically abused by detention centre staff. Of those participating in the action, some had been detained for nearly two years, and six had been detained for more than one year. The Immigration Department claimed that the hunger strikers were consuming other food despite their refusal to collect meals from the facility, and that it had been providing counselling for the detainees to discuss their situation. It also said that most of the hunger strikers had criminal records involving serious or violent crimes and were awaiting deportation. The Castle Peak Bay “Concern Group” reported that the hunger strikers had been placed in separate rooms for observation, but that they had not been provided with any medical assistance—in spite of some detainees’ pre-existing conditions. For example, one striker who has a tumor in his left arm has not been given access to the necessary drugs to improve his condition. More than 2,000 people have signed a petition organised by the CIC Concern Group to support the strikers’ action.

In addition to the indefinite detention detainees face at the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre, concerns have been raised regarding the deleterious hygiene and medical conditions in the facility. First raised by lawmakers and activists in May (see 12 May update on this platform), the inadequate conditions were again flagged in mid-August when the findings from a survey of 100 detainees, former detainees, and family members were published by the Concern Group. The survey found that 48.72 percent of interviewees thought that they did not have enough access to medical assistance, while 46.15 percent thought that CIC’s facilities were inadequate. Many raised issues such as insufficient dental hygiene products including toothpaste, a lack of hot water in the winter, and a lack of space to hang their laundry.

Responding to concerns regarding detention conditions during the pandemic, the government has detailed the measures that it has taken to prevent and control the virus inside the facility: “All detainees on admission to CIC are required to undergo a medical examination conducted by a duty medical officer to ensure that their health condition is normal and to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases to other detainees. For detainees arriving in Hong Kong from the Mainland or overseas countries within 14 days before admission to CIC, they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine and medical surveillance at a designated area of CIC, during which they will not have any contact with other detainees. In addition, all detainees newly admitted to CIC are required to undergo the COVID-19 viral test. Each detainee will be provided with a surgical mask and have body temperature taken every day.”


12 May 2020

Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre in Tuen Mun, (Handout,
Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre in Tuen Mun, (Handout, "Coronavirus: Hong Kong Lawyers, Lawmakers Flag Hygiene Issues at Detention Centre, but Immigration Says Health Measures in Place," South China Morning Post, 26 April 2020, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3081544/coronavirus-hong-kong-lawyers-lawmakers-flag)

Human rights lawyers and lawmakers have raised concerns about conditions in the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Detention Centre, saying they are worried about the risk of Covid-19 spreading among detainees. The Immigration Department nonetheless stated that the health and safety of staff and detainees is a prime concern and that appropriate measures have been put in place to avoid contamination. In addition, a spokesman for the Department of Health said that if detainees “show any symptoms of Covid-19, they will be sent to public hospitals.” Opened in 2005, the Castle Peak Bay (CPB) facility has a total capacity of around 400 places, although it is not known how many people are currently detained there. Most detainees are from Vietnam, Central America, South America, India, and Pakistan. Men and women are held on different floors in the facility.

Concerns were voiced following reports of “rats in the premises, malfunctioning toilets, a lack of bleach for disinfection, no access or insufficient access to soap and hand sanitisers.” Karen McClellan, a lawyer at Daly & Associates, said that they were very concerned about Covid-19 spreading in immigration detention centres: “This is an area that we’re very concerned is falling through the cracks, putting an already vulnerable group even more at risk.”

Dr. Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, a Hong Kong politician, also raised concerns about hygiene after visiting the centre on 12 March. He was shocked to see detainees in a day room using ladles to scoop water from a plastic bucket to drink. He also observed that detainees spent most of their time in day rooms the size of a regular classroom, with around 40 to 60 people in each room.

The Immigration Department stated that cleaning and disinfection had been stepped up at the centre since the outbreak of the disease. New arrivals with recent travel history outside Hong Kong have reportedly been segregated and observed and the centre has been collecting saliva samples for Covid-19 tests, but the Department did not mention when this began or how many detainees have been tested for now."

In the past, many NGOs have criticised conditions at Hong Kong's two detention facilities, including abuses by security guards and lack of food and unsanitary conditions. Multiple incidents of mistreatment have previously been reported at CPB. In 2019, Yuli Riswati, an Indonesian migrant domestic worker and journalist, was deported from Hong Kong to Indonesia after reporting on the 2019 anti-extradition law protests. Before she was deported, Yuli was detained for 28 days. While in detention, Yuli was subject to a strip-search by male doctors (despite being Muslim) and was declined adequate medical treatment despite suffering from vomiting and flu. This resulted in her physical deterioration and psychological depression.


21 April 2020

Government Quarantine Camp at the Chun Yeung Estate, (K.Y. Cheng, South China Morning Post,
Government Quarantine Camp at the Chun Yeung Estate, (K.Y. Cheng, South China Morning Post, "Isolation, Boredom, and a 151 sq ft Space: the Conditions of Hong Kong's Coronavirus Quarantine Camps," https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/3078278/isolation-boredom-and-151-sq-ft-cell-prison-conditions-hong-kongs)

Hong Kong (officially the Hong Kong Special Adminsitrative Region) began taking measures to contain and combat the COVID-19 pandemic in early February after thousands of medical workers undertook a week-long strike to demand the government close the border with China and provide workers with personal protective equipment, among others measures. From 25 March 2020, the government began to deny entry to all non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions by plane. Any non-Hong Kong residents coming from China, Macao and/or Taiwan (Province of China) also began to be denied entry to Hong Kong if they had been to any overseas countries and regions in the last 14 days. The government began to deny entry to all visitors from Hubei province, and any non-Hong Kong residents who have visited Hubei province in the last 14 days, to Hong Kong, from 27 January 2020 onwards.

There do not appear to have been changes in immigration detention policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Adella Namagembe, the chairperson of Refugee Union (the city’s first union run by and for refugees and migrants), told the Global Detention Project (GDP) that asylum seekers continue to be detained in immigration detention centres. Detainees are being tested for COVID-19 and are given surgical masks, hand sanitizer, handwashing soap, and toilet cleaning products.

The Hong Kong government has issued a Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on all overseas countries/territories based on public health considerations in view of the health risks arising from the persistent and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally. Namagembe told the GDP that deportations do not appear to be taking place.

Refugees, who are officially referred to as “non-refoulement claimants” due to the lack of a refugee policy, are given food vouchers worth HKD40 (approximately 5.15USD) and a housing allowance of HK1500 (approximately 190USD)––levels of assistance which have not been adjusted with inflation since 2014. On 26 February 2020, the Refugee Union issued a letter to the Social Welfare Department, requesting increases in housing, utilities, transport allowance, allowances and providing a clothing allowance. It also asked for the allocation of a food allowance in cash rather than through vouchers (which are only valid for one chain of supermarket in Hong Kong and which are often disregarded by supermarket staff) and for the government to lift its restrictions on what items can be purchased. Namagembe said: “Generally, we need more financial support due to the fact that we are not allowed to work, everything currently is expensive due to the COVID-19 breakout. The consumption is high because kids are at home all the time. Even adults needs to maintain their health by having a balanced diet.”

On 19 March, the Social Welfare Department replied that it had shared notices and guidelines about the health advice and preventive measures of COVID-19 issued by the Centre for Health Protection to ISS-HK, including some that had been translated into ethnic minority languages. It stated: “Upon receipt of donation of face masks and sanitising items from individuals or private organizations, if any, SWD/ISS-HK will assist to distribute these items to the needy bodies including NRCs according to the wishes of donors.” It also stated: “the Government has to emphasize that the provision of humanitarian assistance aims to ensure that claimants will not become destitute during their presence in Hong Kong, and thus the level of assistance is to meet their basic needs so as to avoid any magnet effect which may have serious implications on the long-term sustainability of such assistance and the immigration of Hong Kong.” Refugees have continued to lodge personal complaint letters, indicating the urgent need for government support to meet their basic needs, but to date have not received positive responses.

Asylum seekers are asked to report to the Immigration Department regularly. Namagembe said that the Immigration Department had lengthened the period between reporting obligations as a result of the outbreak: “Currently, all of them [asylum seekers] report to immigration on the same date every 6 weeks.” She said that the Immigration Department is checking the temperature of asylum seekers when they report.

Migrant domestic workers have been excluded from many of the government’s virus containment policies. In Hong Kong, there is a mandatory live-in requirement for migrant domestic workers. In January, the Labour Department (LD) came under fire after it issued a public notice encouraging domestic workers “to stay home on their rest day in order to safeguard their personal health and to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community.” The organization Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) stated that workers had subsequently been forced to stay at home on their rest days by their employers, and even asked to resign if they did not do so.

According to a recent study by MFMW and Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, 40 percent of 1,127 migrant domestic workers surveyed in March 2020 said that their labour rights had been curtailed during the outbreak. This included not being given masks or sanitizer or being forced to work excessive hours. Some workers have noted that, as a result of the government’s quarantine policies, they are also being deprived of the ability to take their annual leave (7 to 14 days), given that the compulsory quarantine period imposed by the government is 14 days. In addition, migrant workers have raised concerned about employers who return home from overseas who are subsequently required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. The Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions has criticised the government for its lack of clear quarantine guidelines for workers and employers, including its lack of guidance on what to do if workers encounter inadequate accommodation or unlawful dismissal in relation to quarantine policies.

The Immigration Department has announced a “flexibility arrangement” for migrant domestic workers. The Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent for all migrant domestic worker contracts that will expire on or before 31 March 2020, to be extended up till 31 May 2020, provided that such variation is mutually agreed by both the employer and the worker and approved by the Director of Immigration. They have also given further in-principle consent for all migrant domestic worker contracts that will expire on or before 30 June 2020, to extend the period of employment up to July 31, 2020, on the same terms.


Last updated: June 2009

Hong Kong (China) Immigration Detention Profile

Immigration and detention policies in Hong Kong have been driven in part by concerns over migration flows from mainland China and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia, in particular Vietnam. For many years, Hong Kong (officially, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China) was the “first port of refuge” for refugees fleeing Vietnam, even though most arriving Vietnamese “boat people” were held in deplorable conditions in secure detention camps (Ripley 1989; Refugee Action 1986). Since China resumed sovereignty over it, Hong Kong has ended its practice of accepting Vietnamese migrants and vigorously defended its policy of refusing all asylum seekers, who are generally treated as unauthorized immigrants (HKHRM 2008; Minghua 2001).

Detention Policy

Since unification with China in 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Basic Law establishes the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, according to which Hong Kong retains a degree of autonomy in setting domestic policy, including on immigration issues. China is party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, but the rights and duties set out in this convention have not been extended to Hong Kong (CAT 2009).

Many immigration offenses, which are established in the Immigration Ordinance, are heavily penalized, including unauthorized presence in Hong Kong. Offenses include:

  • “Overstaying” an entry permit, which is grounds for expulsion from Hong Kong and can lead to criminal prosecution (CLIC website; Chan 2009); 
  • “Breaches of conditions of stay,” such as working without appropriate permission, which according to Section 41 of the Immigration Ordinance is considered “an offence” and makes a person “liable on conviction to a fine … and to imprisonment for 2 years”;
  • Presenting false information or forged travel documents, which Section 42 of the ordinance states makes a person, “on conviction on indictment, [liable] to a fine of $150,000 and to imprisonment for 14 years.”

The Immigration Ordinance authorizes specific officials within the Hong Kong Security Bureau—including officers of the Immigration Service and ranking members of the police force—to order the detention of people for a number of immigration-related reasons, including:

  • “Detention for inquiry”: Immigrants suspected of having violated the ordinance can be detained for investigation for an initial period of 48 hours, which can be extended for 5 additional days (Section 26).
  • “Detention pending examination and decision as to landing”: People suspected of having arrived in Hong Kong without appropriate authorization can be held “for not more than 24 hours pending the examination; and … for not more than a further 24 hours pending a decision to give or refuse him permission to land” (Section 27).
  • “Detention for inquiry as to deportation”: The Secretary for Security can issue a detention warrant to hold a foreigner for up to 14 days if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person is deportable because he/she has been found guilty in Hong Kong of an offence punishable with imprisonment for not less than 2 years and/or the governor deems it to be conducive to the public good. Under certain conditions, this period of detention can be extended to a maximum of 28 days (Section 29 and 20).
  • “Detention pending removal or deportation”: This category of detention covers a number of different scenarios, but generally authorizes the detention of non-residents who have been issued a deportation or removal order. In most instances, there is no specified limit on the length of detention (Section 32).

The Immigration Ordinance authorizes the secretary for security to “designate any place as a detention centre for the detention of persons” who are awaiting a decision on permission to stay in Hong Kong or who have been ordered removed (Section 13H). Detention centres “shall be under the control and management of an officer appointed by the Secretary for Security and the officer appointed shall be: (a) the Commissioner of Correctional Services; (b) the Commissioner of Police; or (c) the Chief Staff Officer, Civil Aid Service” (Section 13H).

The Hong Kong government maintains a “firm policy not to grant asylum” (HKHRM 2008, pg 16). According to the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, “There is no law or policy in Hong Kong offering protected status for refugees or asylum seekers. Neither the Immigration Ordinance (Cap.115) nor immigration guidelines provide for any different treatment for asylum seekers or refugees from other persons seeking entry to Hong Kong. The Government does not have a [refugee determination procedure] but instead relies on the UNHCR’s Hong Kong sub-office to process asylum applications. The UNHCR communicates its decision on the status of the asylum seeker to the Director of Immigration, who has unfettered discretion to decide whether or not to abide by the decision or choose to ignore it in making its immigration decision" (HKHRM 2008, pg 17).

Because asylum seekers are generally treated as unauthorized immigrants in Hong Kong, they are vulnerable to detention and deportation. According to the Hong Kong Human Rights Commission, asylum seekers “are denied access to health care, education, welfare, and housing, and are furthermore subject to detention. … If they approach the Immigration Department to extend visas or get recognizance they are often rejected and will be asked to leave Hong Kong” (HKHRC et al 2007).

Unauthorized minors are also subject to detention. According to Hong Kong Regulations, “A person, who in the opinion of an immigration officer is under the age of 18 years, may be detained in any place set out in Schedule 2 [which designates the Tuen Mun Children and Juvenile Home] and shall receive the same treatment as that which is accorded to a child or juvenile detained in a place of refuge” (Hong Kong Regulations, Chapter 115 B, Section 4, “Treatment of children and juveniles”).

The Immigration Ordinance contains several sections that deal specifically with the treatment of “residents or former residents of Vietnam.” Beginning on 2 July 1982, any person (including children) from Vietnam who arrives without proper authorization is to be detained “pending a decision to grant or refuse him permission to remain in Hong Kong or, after a decision to refuse him such permission, pending his removal from Hong Kong” (Section 13D). This policy, which was established in the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1982, led to the establishment of the first secure detention camps for asylum seekers in Hong Kong (Cheung 1982).

While the Refugee Convention has not been extended to Hong Kong, there are procedures in place for assessing torture claims made under the Convention against Torture (for a discussion of the convention’s application in Hong Kong, see A’ et al and Director of Immigration 2008a, §1-5; HKHRM 2008). Despite serious criticism of these procedures (see, for example, HKHRM 2008, pp 18-19), they have led to positive outcomes for claimants in Hong Kong courts. In July 2008, a Hong Kong Court of Appeals ruled that the government had unlawfully detained four non-residents who had filed torture claims under the convention. The court found that while the powers to detain under Section 32 of the Immigration Ordinance pending verification of a torture claim were lawful under domestic law, they nonetheless violated article 5(1) of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, which requires that detention must not be arbitrary and the grounds and procedure for detention must be certain and accessible. The court found that there was no published policy describing the circumstances under which the government could exercise its power to detain pending verification of the torture claims (“A” et al and Director of Immigration 2009, §3).

In March 2009, a Hong Kong court ruled that the government had to pay monetary damages to the four non-residents who had filed torture claims (A” et al and Director of Immigration 2009). According to one source interviewed by the Global Detention Project, while the long-term impact of the rulings remains unclear, shortly after the 2009 ruling several dozen immigrants were released from detention (Chan 2009).

Detention Infrastructure

Hong Kong has a sprawling immigration detention complex that encompasses several dozen current and former detention camps, prisons, and other holding facilities (see the complete List of Detention Sites). Overall numbers of detainees, however, have gone down significantly since Hong Kong officially ended its policy of accepting Vietnamese migrants in the late 1990s. On 18 July 2008, the government reported that 387 persons were in immigration detention (“A” et al and Director of Immigration, 2008b, §3). This compares to the single-day total of 23,203  “illegal Vietnamese immigrants” held in detention camps as of 1 April 1993 (House of Lords 1993).

The Immigration Ordinance authorizes the secretary for security to “designate any place as a detention centre for the detention of persons” who are awaiting a decision on permission to stay in Hong Kong or who have been ordered removed (Section 13H). Detention centres “shall be under the control and management of an officer appointed by the Secretary for Security and the officer appointed shall be: (a) the Commissioner of Correctional Services; (b) the Commissioner of Police; or (c) the Chief Staff Officer, Civil Aid Service” (Section 13H).

According to Hong Kong Regulations (Chapter 115B, Schedule 3), there were 20 facilities in use as of mid-2009. However, the Global Detention Project (GDP) has found evidence that many of these facilities are either closed or used for purposes other than immigration detention, including: the Victoria Road Centre (aka “The Zoo”), a notorious prison once used to hold political detainees during the 1960s and 1970s but which the Hong Kong government apparently now rents out, including to film producers (South China Morning Post 2006); the British Military Hospital in Kowloon, which was closed down in the mid-1990s during the lead up to the handover of Hong Kong to China (Lee 1995); the Whitehead Detention Centre, an infamous detention camp for Vietnamese boat people, which was closed in the late 1990s and turned into a golf course (Chen Min 2005); and the New Horizons Vietnamese Refugee Departure Centre, the Kai Tak Vietnamese Migrant Transit Centre, and the High Island Detention Centre, which were closed in the late 1990s to consolidate the location of remaining Vietnamese migrants in Hong Kong (USCR 1999).

In addition, many of the detention sites listed in the regulations are “detention quarters” or “rooms” located at ports of entry - including land borders with mainland China, ferry terminals, and the Hong Kong Airport - most of which appear to be used only as short-term holding facilities (Hong Kong RegulationsChapter 115B, Schedule 3; Chung 2009). Except for the airport, which according to one source often holds people for several days, the Global Detention Project has been unable to confirm if these sites confine people for more than a few hours (Chung 2009).

As of June 2009, the GDP was able to confirm the “in use” status of 12 detention facilities (see Map of “In Use” Detention Sites). These facilities include prisons, custodial wards in hospitals, dedicated migrant detention centres, the airport detention quarters, and one juvenile detention centre. Some of the sites, like the Green Island Reception Centre, are apparently only standby facilities to be used in cases of massive influx of migrants (Chung 2009).

All facilities are under the authority of the Security Bureau except the Tuen Mun Children and Juvenile Home, which is part of the Labour and Welfare Bureau’s Social Welfare Department’s residential treatment service for children, juveniles, and young offenders (Social Welfare Department 2009). The other 11 sites are run by the Correctional Services Department or the Immigration Department, both of which are part of the Security Bureau. (For more information about “in use” and “closed” detention sites, see the complete List of Detention Sites).

Facts & Figures

According to government statistics, in 2007, more than 5,000 people were arrested on charges related to “illegal immigration”—3,007 immigrants from mainland China, and 2,041 “Vietnamese illegal immigrants and other non-ethnic Chinese illegal immigrants” (Hong Kong Government 2007, p. 302). However, the Immigration Department reports that during fiscal year 2007-2008, it “detained” 12,374 people and “arrested” 11,937 (Immigration Department 2008). In addition, during this period the department “prosecuted” 11,316 people, “repatriated” 13,404, “removed” 451, and “deported” 727 (Immigration Department 2008).

On 18 July 2008, the government reported that 387 persons were in immigration detention, 139 of whom were torture claimants (“A” et al and Director of Immigration, 2008b, §3). This compares to the single-day total of 23,203  “illegal Vietnamese immigrants” held in detention camps as of 1 April 1993 (House of Lords 1993).

As of mid-2009, Hong Kong Regulations (Chapter 115B, Schedule 3) listed 20 immigration detention sites. The Global Detention Project was able to confirm that 12 sites qualified as “In use” sites (see the complete List of Detention Sites).

At the end of 2007 there were 94 asylum seekers with pending cases residing in Hong Kong (UNHCR 2008). During fiscal year 2007-2008, there were 2,783 “illegal immigrants from the Mainland” in Hong Kong, down from 23,132 in 1996-1997 (Immigration Department  2008).

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  • Telephone Directory of the Government of the HKSAR and Related Organizations. Website. "Immigration Department: Enforcement and Torture Claim Assessment Branch: Enforcement Division: Removal Sub-division: Deportation Section." Page last updated 28 May 2009.http://gb.hyd.gov.hk/gb/tel.directory.gov.hk/0269000077_ENG.html(accessed 29 May 2009).
  • Telephone Directory of the Government of the HKSAR and Related Organizations. Website. "Social Welfare Department Headquarters: Youth and Corrections Branch: Tuen Mun Children and Juvenile Home." Page last updated 28 May 2009.http://gb.hyd.gov.hk/gb/tel.directory.gov.hk/0273007193_ENG.html(accessed 29 May 2009).
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR). 1999. World Refugee Survey 1999. USCR. 1 January 1999.
  • Wu, C., and C. Inglis. 1992. “Illegal Immigration to Hong Kong.” Asian and Pacific Migration Journal. 1992;1(3-4):601-21.

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
21,714
2018
24,191
2017
24,679
2013
37,105
2013
23,922
2012
29,792
2012
21,523
2011
23,876
2011
28,564
2010
31,445
2009
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
2
2014
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
571
2013
Number of transit facilities
7
2014
Number of persons removed/returned (voluntary returns and deportations)
10,110
2010
Criminal prison population
8,457
2016
Percentage of foreign prisoners
29.9
2016
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
115
2016
Population
7,050,000
2010
International migrants
2,942,254
2019
2,804,800
2013
International migrants as a percentage of the population
38.9
2013
Refugees
128
2019
86
2016
133
2015
170
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.01
2016
0.02
2012
Total number of new asylum applications
10
2019
0
2016
1,231
2012
Stateless persons
0
2016
1
2014
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
Top nationalities of detainees
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Number of detained asylum seekers
Total number of detained minors
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Number of detained accompanied minors
Number of detained stateless persons
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
Number of immigration offices
Number of criminal facilities
Number of ad hoc facilities
Number of deportations/forced returns only
Percentage of persons removed in relation to total number of people placed in removal procedures
Estimated number of undocumented migrants
Refugee recognition rate

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
38,124
2013
Remittances to the country
356
2011
Remittances from the country
483
2010
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
129 (Medium)
2014
Unemployment Rate
Unemployment rate amongst migrants
Net official development assistance (ODA) (in millions USD)
Detention for deterrence
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
Immigration Index Score
World Bank Rule of Law Index
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Common law
Customary law
Core pieces of national legislation
Immigration Ordinance. Cap. 115. (1972) 2015
1972
Hong Kong Bill Of Rights Ordinance, Art. 5 Liberty and security of person and Art. 6 Rights of persons deprived of their liberty (1991) 1998
1991
Additional legislation
Consular Relations Ordinance. Cap 557. (2000) 2015
2000
Immigration Service Ordinance. Cap 331. (1961) 2014
1961
Regulations, standards, guidelines
IMMIGRATION (TREATMENT OF DETAINEES) ORDER. Cap. 115E. As amended. (1980)
1980
Immigration (Places of Detention) Order. Cap. 115B. As amended (2010). (1975)
1975
Immigration-status-related grounds
Detention to establish/verify identity and nationality
2015
Detention to prevent absconding
2015
Detention to effect removal
2015
Detention to prevent unauthorised entry at the border
2015
Detention of unauthorised persons by executive discretion
2015
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
2015
Detention for failing to respect non-custodial measures
2015
Non-immigration-status-related grounds providing for administrative detention in immigration legislation.
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
2015
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Yes (Yes)
2014
Grounds for criminal immigration-related detention/incarceration and maximum potential duration of incarceration
Unauthorised stay (1095)
2015
Unauthorized entry (1095)
2015
Maximum length of time in custody prior to issuance of a detention order
7
2015
Maximum length of detention for asylum-seekers
No Limit
2015
Provision of basic procedural standards
Access to consular assistance (Yes) Yes
2015
Right to legal counsel (Yes)
2014
Information to detainees (No) Yes
2014
Independent review of detention (No)
2014
Right to appeal the lawfulness of detention (No)
2014
Access to asylum procedures (No)
2014
Complaints mechanism regarding detention conditions (No)
2014
Access to free interpretation services () Yes
2014
Types of non-custodial measures
Designated non-secure housing () Yes
2020
Release (Yes) infrequently
2015
Supervised release and/or reporting (Yes) infrequently
2014
Release on bail (Yes) infrequently
2014
Is the detention of vulnerable persons provided in law? Are they detained in practice?
Persons with disabilities (Not mentioned)
2015
Unaccompanied minors (Provided) Yes
2014
Survivors of torture (Provided)
2014
Elderly (Not mentioned)
2009
Pregnant women (Not mentioned)
2009
Constitutional guarantees?
Has the country decriminalized immigration-related violations?
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
Longest recorded instance of immigration detention.
Average length of detention
Maximum length of detention for persons detained upon arrival at ports of entry
Impact of alternatives
Mandatory detention
Expedited/fast track removal
Re-entry ban

INTERNATIONAL LAW

International treaty reservations
Reservation Year
Observation Date
CRC Article 37 1997
1997
1997
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
0
0
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Recommendation Year
Committee on the Rights of the Child "82. The Committee notes as positive the decision of Hong Kong, China to grant asylum-seeking and refugee children access to the national public school system. However, it is concerned about the lack of special care and protection for asylum-seeking children upon their arrival and the administrative practice of detaining such children, as well as unaccompanied children arriving in Hong Kong, China by air and children who are refused entry, in juvenile detention facilities.[...] 84. The Committee recommends that Hong Kong, China: (a) Cease the administrative practice of detaining asylum-seeking and refugee children;" 2013
2013
Bilateral/multilateral agreements linked to readmission
Year in Force
Observation Date
EU 2004
2004
2017
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Individual complaints procedure
Treaty bodies decisions on individual complaints
Regional legal instruments
Regional treaty reservations
Regional judicial decisions on individual complaints
Recommendations issued by regional human rights mechanisms
Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
Relevant recommendations by UN Special Procedures
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Federal or centralized governing system
Centralized system
2014
Centralized or decentralized immigration authority
Centralized immigration authority
2015
Custodial authority
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2014
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2014
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2013
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2011
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2009
Correctional Services (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2009
Social Welfare Department (Labour and Welfare Bureau) Labour
2009
Social Welfare Department (Labour and Welfare Bureau) Labour
2006
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
2004
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Immigration Department (Security Bureau) Internal or Public Security
Apprehending authorities
Immigration or police officer ()
2014
Detention Facility Management
Immigration Department (Governmental)
2014
Social Welfare Department (Governmental)
2014
Immigration Department (Governmental)
2013
Immigration Department. Security Bureau. (Governmental)
2013
Immigration Department (Governmental)
2011
immigration Department. Security Bureau. (Governmental)
2011
Correctional Services (Governmental)
2009
Immigration Department (Governmental)
2009
Labour and Welfare Bureau / Social Welfare Department (Governmental)
2009
Labour and Welfare Bureau / Social Welfare Department (Governmental)
2006
Correctional Services (Governmental)
2004
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Immigration Department (Governmental)
Types of detention facilities used in practice
Yes (Yes) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2014
()
()
()
()
()
Authorized monitoring institutions
Justices of the Peace (Judiciary organs)
2015
Is the national human rights institution (NHRI) recognized as independent?
No
2018
Does NHRI carry out visits?
Yes
2018
Does NHRI have capacity to receive complaints?
Yes
2018
Does NHRI publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Yes
2018
Formally designated detention estate?
Does national preventive mechanism (NPM) carry out visits?
Does NPM have capacity to receive complaints?
Does NPM publicly release reports on immigration detention?
Do NGOs carry out visits?
NGO capacity to receive complaints?
Do NGOs publish reports on immigration detention?
Do parliamentary organs carry out visits?
Do parliamentary organs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do parliamentary organs publicly report on their detention findings?
Do internal inspection agencies (IIAs) carry out visits?
Do IIAs have capacity to receive complaints?
Do IIAs publicly report their findings from detention inspections?
Do international and/or regional bodies (IRBs) visit immigration-related detention facilities?
Do IRBs publicly report their findings from inspections?
Types of privatisation/outsourcing
Detention contractors and other non-state entities
Estimated annual budget for detention operations
Estimated annual budgets for particular detention-related activities
Estimated cost per detainees day (in USD)
Estimated annual budget for non-custodial measures (in USD)
Estimated costs of non-custodial measures (in USD)
Does the country receive external sources of funding?
Description of foreign assistance