Legal update: Law Reform Commission public consultation on new cyber-crimes 


In this snapshot legal update, we report that on 20 July 2022, the cybercrime sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission published a consultation paper with its recommendations to introduce five new cyber crimes into law in Hong Kong. The consultation paper followed a comparative and critical analysis of cybercrime laws in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, mainland China, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.

Currently, cybercrime offences are not consolidated into a single ordinance. Certain offences are provided for in other ordinances, including:

  • gaining unauthorised access to a computer by means of telecommunication (s. 27A, Telecommunications Ordinance)
  • gaining unauthorised access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent to obtain gain or cause loss to another (s. 161, Crimes Ordinance)
  • destroying or damaging property, including misusing any computer program or data held in a computer (s. 59 & 60, Crimes Ordinance)

The proposed new cybercrime offences are:

  • illegal access to program or data
  • illegal interception of computer data
  • illegal interference of computer data
  • illegal interference of computer system
  • making available or possessing a device or data for committing a crime

Some existing offences may be consolidated and transposed into a new single ordinance intended to deal specifically with cybercrime.

The Law Reform Commission also recommends that the nature of cybercrime justifies extra-territorial application of Hong Kong law, and Hong Kong courts should have jurisdiction in a case where connections with Hong Kong exist and the alleged offence has caused or may cause serious damage to Hong Kong.

The recommendations do not represent the final views of the Law Reform Commission. Views on all topics covered in the consultation paper may be submitted. Specifically, the Law Reform Commission has set out a request for responses to a series of questions focussed on the appropriate scope of defences and exemptions. The consultation period will end on 19 October 2022.

The full consultation paper is available here.

Pádraig Walsh

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised in this article, please contact:

Pádraig Walsh
Partner | E-mail

Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.