The Age of Criminal Responsibility in Hong Kong
The current law in Hong Kong is that no child under the age of seven can be guilty of an offence. The law also presumes that a child between the ages of seven and 14 is incapable of committing a crime, unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that, at the time of the offence, the child was well aware that his or her act was seriously wrong, and not merely naughty or mischievous. This is known as "the rebuttable presumption of doli incapax." In comparison to other jurisdictions, the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Hong Kong is low and there have been increasing calls in recent years for the minimum age to be raised.
The Commission's report, published in May 2000, recommended that the age of criminal responsibility should be increased from seven to ten years of age, and that the rebuttable presumption of doli incapax should be retained, but that it should reflect the revised minimum age of criminal responsibility and be applied to children between the ages of ten and 14.
|Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)|
|Report (PDF) (MS Word)|