Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 16:
Public Order
Fight Crime Committee
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Narcotics Division
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Commissioner on
Interception of
Communications and

The Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance, which came into effect on August 9, 2006, provides a new statutory regime for the authorisation and regulation of interception of communications and covert surveillance conducted by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime and protecting public security. The ordinance provides for the appointment of a Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance as an independent authority for overseeing matters related to the interception of communications and surveillance. On the recommendation of the Chief Justice, the Chief Executive appointed Justice Woo Kwok-hing, Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal, as the Commissioner for a period of three years. The Commissioner is assisted by a secretariat to carry out his functions under the ordinance.

The main duties of the Commissioner are to oversee and conduct reviews on the compliance by LEAs and their officers with the relevant requirements under the ordinance; carry out examinations upon applications from people who suspect they are subjects of interception or covert surveillance conducted by LEAs; give notifications to those affected in cases of interception or covert surveillance without the authority of a prescribed authorisation; and make recommendations to the Secretary for Security on the code of practice issued under the ordinance and to the heads of LEAs to better carry out the aims of the ordinance and the code of practice.

The Commissioner has to submit annual reports to the Chief Executive with statistical information and his assessment on the overall compliance with the relevant requirements during the report period. The report will be tabled in the Legislative Council. The first annual report to the Chief Executive covers the period between commencement of the ordinance and December 31, 2006. It will be submitted to the Chief Executive within six months after the expiry of the report period, in accordance with the time prescribed by the ordinance.

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