Nine rights for arrested persons in HK

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Filipino domestic helpers during their rest day in Hong Kong.

Persons arrested in Hong Kong have nine basic rights that they can avail of while they are in police custody.

According to the police’s “Notice to Persons in Police Custody or Involved in Police Enquiries,” these rights include the right to seek legal assistance, to tell someone that you are in a police station, to communicate with a relative or friend, to get a written copy of your caution statement, to call your consulate if you are a foreign national, to be provided with food and drinks, and to seek medical attention.


Right to seek legal assistance

— To make private telephone calls or communicate with a lawyer.

— To have a lawyer present during any interview with the investigators.

— To communicate privately or refuse to communicate with a lawyer claiming to have been instructed by another person on your behalf.

— To be provided with a list of solicitors published by the Law Society of Hong Kong.


Right to tell someone that the arrested person is at the police station

— To require the Police to try to inform a relative or friend that you are at a police station, and to be informed of the result.


Right to communicate with a relative or friend

— To be given reasonable opportunities to communicate with a relative or friend by telephone.

— To receive visits from a relative or friend. If for an arrested person and detained person, the permission of the Duty Officer for such visits is required.

— To be supplied with writing materials and to have the letter posted as soon as practicable at your own expense.


Right to copies of the written record under caution (or the record of the police interview with the detained individual)

— To be supplied with a copy of the written record under caution as soon as practicable after the interview.

— To refuse to answer subsequent questions until a copy of the written record under caution has been provided.


Right to communicate with consulate if the arrested person is a foreign national

— To receive visits and to communicate in private with consulate officials or a lawyer that they arranged for the detained person.

Right to notify the consulate if the detained person is a foreign national

— To require the Police to notify the consulate of your home country in Hong Kong of your arrest or detention.

— To require the Police to notify the relevant authority of your home country of your arrest or detention, if there is no consulate in Hong Kong.


Right to food and drink

— To be provided with drinking water upon request while in police custody.

— To be offered three meals a day with drinks.

— Due to special reasons—religious needs or the canteen is closed—food from a restaurant, fastfood outlet, or delivered by your relative or friend may be arranged but with the permission of the Duty Officer or an inspector.


Right to seek medical attention

— To be given medical attention if you feel unwell.


Right to request for release or for bail

— An arrested person can apply for police bail. But if the detained person was ordered remanded in jail by a judge, the decision to grant bail is up to the judge.


The police added that the first five rights could be exercised as long as their exercise does not cause unreasonable delay or hindrance to the investigation or the administration of justice.