Offence and Penalty

Marine refuse is caused by the inconsiderate act of littering into marine waters or littering on land from which the litter will likely enter the marine environment. It is an offence to deposit without lawful authority or cause or permit to be deposited (where the case applies) any litter into the waters of Hong Kong or in public places (including gazetted beach, ungazetted beach, coastal area, watercourse, channel, ditch, marine park, marine reserve, typhoon shelter, etc.) or in any place from which it is likely that the litter will be swept by the tide into the waters of Hong Kong.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), Marine Department (MD), Hong Kong Police Force (HKP) are empowered to take enforcement actions against marine littering or nearshore littering. The offender is liable to a fine of $10,000 to $50,000 and/or imprisonment of 6 months to 1 year.

In 2002, the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) Ordinance, Cap.570, was introduced to enforce minor public cleanliness offences, including marine littering and nearshore littering. An authorized public officer can issue a fixed penalty notice at a fine of $1,500 against marine and nearshore littering.

Departments that could take enforcement actions against marine and nearshore littering, and the related legislation are listed in the table below:

Responsible areas
(Enforcement Department)
Offence Maximum Penalty
Coastal waters/open waters/typhoon shelters
(Marine Department)
Section 4D of Summary Offences Ordinance, Cap. 228 Fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months or $50,000 and imprisonment for 1 year (Note 1)
Section 3(1) of Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance, Cap 570 Fine of $1,500
Gazetted beaches
(Leisure and Cultural Services Department)
Section 4(1) of Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132 BK) Fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 6 months
Section 5 and 15 of Bathing Beaches Regulation, Cap. 132E Fine of $2,000 and imprisonment for 14 days
Section 3(1) of Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance, Cap 570 Fine of $1,500
Marine Parks / Marine Reserve
(Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department)
Section 9(1)(C) of Marine Parks and Marine Reserves Regulation, Cap. 476A Fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 1 year
Ungazetted beaches and coastal areas
(Food and Environmental Hygiene Department)
Section 4(1) of Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132 BK) Fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 6 months
Section 3(1) of Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance, Cap 570 Fine of $1,500
Gazetted/Ungazetted beaches
Marine Parks / Marine Reserve
Coastal areas/open waters/typhoon shelters
(Hong Kong Police Force)
Section 4D of Summary Offences Ordinance, Cap. 228 Fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months or fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for 1 year
(Note 1)
Section 3(1) of Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance, Cap 570 Fine of $1,500

Note 1: The offender is liable to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months according to Section 4D(1) of the Summary Offences Ordinance. If the offence is committed from a vessel or premises, the owner/master/proprietor/occupier of the vessel/premises is liable to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year according to Section 4D(2) of the Summary Offences Ordinance.

 

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