Face covering regulation explained

March 22, 2023

The Government considers it necessary to retain the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation (PFCR) for the time being and such a rule will not affect the wearing of masks by the public in their daily lives.


Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung made the statement today while answering lawmakers’ questions and took time to explain that the mandatory mask-wearing requirement and the PFCR are two separate matters.
He pointed out that while the mandatory mask-wearing requirement deals with public health issues, the PFCR deals with occasions of public danger. 


Furthermore, the PFCR is still in effect and Police will act based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law when dealing with cases concerning the PFCR.
Mr Tang said: “Although the mandatory mask-wearing requirements have now been lifted, we understand that the public may choose to continue to wear masks for a certain period of time.
“The PFCR only regulates public meetings and public processions under the Public Order Ordinance, as well as unlawful or unauthorised assemblies. It will not affect the wearing of masks by the public in their daily lives.”
Even if a person wears a mask at a public meeting or a public procession, whether this is in contravention of the PFCR depends on the actual circumstances of individual cases, Mr Tang pointed out.
Police will make inquiries during law enforcement to examine whether the excuse put forward by a suspect was reasonable before deciding whether there is any reasonable suspicion to make an arrest.
In considering whether to commence prosecution, Mr Tang stated that the Department of Justice will examine all evidence in a case and consider whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction before making a prosecutorial decision.
If the suspect is charged, he stressed that the court will also review all evidence to determine whether the suspect’s excuse was genuine and reasonable.
The security chief emphasised that Hong Kong's national security risks still exist and in the light of the current situation, the PFCR will remain in force for the time being.
He added that the Government will closely monitor the overall social situation and conduct reviews in a timely manner.

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