HK Laws Regarding Possession of Knives



POSTED BY UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
Hello all. I am a US citizen expecting to join my wife in HK in a few months.

Here in the US I carry a knife with me every day and use if for things from opening packages, to peeling fruit, and other general uses.

Here in the US knives are generally allowed with type (folding/fixed blade), size (3" & under, etc.) and carry restrictions (openly/concealed).

I have found one law regarding knives that cover specific types of knives, typically ones that are designed particularly as a weapon. I have not found however any laws that control size or manner of carry.

I did also come across another law that seemed to be a general, catch-all law that you can't have anything that could be used as, or is intended to be a weapon.

So, what is the deal? Can I, or can I not carry a small knife for general purposes? What is commonly considered an acceptable size that might prevent any issues?

The purpose here is to determine the laws to that I can attempt to abide them.

I appreciate your help and insight in this matter.


UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
Well, I appreciate the information, Thank you.

I was always taught that when moving to a place it is always a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs, especially when dealing with issues that are as sensitive as weapons and potential weapons.

I did notice however, that when you referenced to carrying some forms of knives and suggesting to "not be a dickhead", that you mentioned more common household knives.

I normally carry a folding pocket knife, with about a 3" blade. I only carry the larger ones when camping, hiking, hunting, etc.

I didn't intend to suggest that I will be strutting around HK with a 5 1/2" boot knife thinking I need to protect myself from the locals. In fact, to the contrary. I understand HK is a considerably safe city (in terms of violent crime), something that weighed heavily in its favor.

I look forward to being in a city where I don't have to worry so much about keeping my family safe from crime.

1983 (7 yrs ago)
As far as i know it is three inches here as well. I've been carrying knives since i was 13, folding and swiss army knives, I've been searched many times before and it's never been a problem. I've also seen people on those walking trail with large knives and machete's, i guess those are ok as well as long as you don't display them openly when you are out and about in the city.

Ringo23 (7 yrs ago)
I've failed to find the relevant HK laws so I tend to go by British law.

You can carry a sub 3" blade on a non locking/slip joint folder.

Any longer than 3" or any form of lock is illegal.

A Leatherman wave is technically illegal but a Swiss Army Knife is not.

I do carry a larger fixed blade when out in the woods though and know of a Western ex policeman that carries a machete on his belt when in the same area.

mrcynic (7 yrs ago)
Laws of HK Cap 217 - Definition of weapons

Cap 228 Section 17 and Cap 245 Section 2 and 33 relate to possession of offensive weapons.

Possession in a public place is subject to lawful authority and reasonable excuse therefore it is incumbent on you to show the reasonable excuse. Machete and knife in countryside area may be ok; and folding penknife in urban area may be ok.

Size is not important!......that's what they always say.

Ringo23 (7 yrs ago)
That's good to know.

Thanks, Mrcynic.

UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
The catch certainly being is two reasonable people can disagree what is a reasonable excuse.

But I suppose that, as mentioned above, as long as you aren't being a dickhead, police tend to leave you alone and not hassle you.

UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
Although I can see the reason, I disagree. Reasonable people don't suddenly reach for their knife or gun in a situation. In most situations I find myself in, the knife or a gun are the absolute last thing I consider using, where the first is my brain.

Simply thinking fast is normally enough to get out of potentially dangerous situations and has saved me more times than any weapon. I also don't believe I will be in a situation in HK where weapons will be necessary.

vak (7 yrs ago)
HK has never been a gun culture society at least for a common man on the street. Choppers is more the local way. If you respect local sentiments and understand a bit of the culture HK is a pretty violence free society.

The only violent incident I have seen on the streets was that of an Expat being beaten up by locals on Lockhart road in front of many bystanders. The expat was drunk and laughed at one guy who was probably a Triad member, so loss of face was the reason given for the episode. The victim was still laughing while being punched so a few of the local boys picked up empty beer bottles , smashed them and were ready for an all out assault . Once the bottles were out no one dared intervene. It took a plain clothes OFF DUTY Expat police officer a fair bit of reasoning to stop the fight but there were no guns or knives out.

Tune (7 yrs ago)
Leave your knife at home- Hong Kong is a very safe city; however, if you look for trouble in this city, you'll find it.

UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
Well, my question has been answered in regards to the law. I respect that people have differing opinions about this and will leave it at that.

Thank you all for your help in regards to this issue and in doing so with a civil discussion.

rasbro (7 yrs ago)
i carry a 3" (or so) pocket knife with a locking blade every day. always have.

i have lived here for 4 years with no issues. no one notices or cares, for me it is for utility, as you stated. but i don't flaunt it - obviously.

Ringo23 (7 yrs ago)
I eat a bus driver every week.

It's not legal but no one has caught me doing it yet, so...

It's all well and good doing what you 'think' is within the law but if it isn't and you get stopped for jaywalking carrying a hidden Samurai sword, you're going to jail.

Ignorance of the law has never been an excuse for breaking it and rightly so.

Know what your rights are regardless of the reason and life is better.

There was a recent case of a retired pensioner in the UK who carried a locking Swiss army knife in his car glove box for caravaning.

He was stopped for an unrelated offence/query, the knife was found and now the guy is locked up for carrying a deadly weapon.

The op has his answer. Telling us what you carry personally is superfluous.

UStoHKExpat (7 yrs ago)
Although slightly off topic Ringo, but ignorance can be a defense, depending on the law.

Most all laws require a mens rea or "guilty mind". When it comes to specific intent crimes, laws which have a specific requirement of intent, ignorance of the law is a defense.

From what I can tell in the spirit of the general catch all law is to prevent people from carrying items with the purpose or mindset of using them as weapons.

I believe the law says something along the lines of "is primarily suited as, or with the intent as a weapon"

An example of an item that might be ideally suited as a weapon could be a knife, a firearm. One that is carried with intent as a weapon might include items such as a baseball bat, a knife, a pencil, a brick, or even a car.

As with everything the idea here would be to take into consideration the type of item you are carrying. Perhaps a hatchet or machete is useful when hiking on unbeaten paths, but obviously might be out of place in the city. But just because a knife could be ideally suited as a weapon doesn't make it such.

And for points on rationality I would not use the UK as even a slightly acceptable example, especially when it comes to self-defense.

But I am not a lawyer.

Ringo23 (7 yrs ago)
"And for points on rationality I would not use the UK as even a slightly acceptable example, especially when it comes to self-defense."

Fair point but that's where I'm from and therefore remain interested in local events.

Britain is actually considering the 'anti stab' knife into production and banning any knife with a sharp point...

How ridiculous. The idea being that 'criminals' won't be able to hurt people with an 'anti stab' knife.

I guess they haven't seen the mess a Triad's cleaver can do. No sharp points on a cleaver.

Politicians and legislators. Idiots with personal agendas.

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