Laws Which Regulate Sex Work in Hong Kong
(15) What is Enjo-Kosai?
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 147
Soliciting for an immoral purpose
Penalty : Maximum penalty of fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months. (Those who have committed similar offence or commits similar offence during bail would face heavier penalty)Illustration (1)
A man approaches Ah Zhen and asks for her rate. Ah Zhen replies by asking the man to follow her upstairs. Shortly after, the police knocks on the door and prosecutes Ah Zhen for “soliciting for an immoral purpose”. The man agrees to be the prosecution witness.
During trial, Ah Zhen denies the charge, while the man (customer) testifies that he was the first to ask for Ah Zhen’s rate. The Defence counsel was quick to point out that there is on the face, insufficient evidence to constitute the charge. Be it the accused’s language, action, expression or attire, none of these amounted to “solicitation”. The judge accepted the counsel’s submission and acquitted Ah Zhen.Illustration (2)
Fang Fang was waiting by the street when a middle-aged man passed by. Fang Fang smiled at him and said : “Hi.”. The man replied likewise. Fang Fang then said “Are you bored ? Do you need company ?” The man asked “How much?”, to which Fang Fang said, “$300”. The man nodded in acceptance and proceeded to a motel with Fang Fang.
In the room, the man handed $300 to Fang Fang, Just as she was about to remove her clothes, someone suddenly knocked on the door. It was the police and the man was an undercover agent.
Fang Fang was charged and convicted of “soliciting for an immoral purpose” on the evidence of her acceptance of $300.
In Hong Kong, sex work or provision of sex services for money is not illegal. Using of sex services is also not illegal. However, soliciting of clients, ownership of premises for provision of sex services are regulated by laws.
● An “immoral act” refers to an act or behaviour which is not acceptable to the vast majority of the public. Commercial sex is one of them.
Acts that breach the law :
● Initiating conversation with customer, or using body language, expression or attire to signal availability to customer.
● Mentioning the types of available service and price, for example during conversation.
Acts that do not breach the law :
● Replying to a customer who initiated the conversation
● Any sexual act within private premises (above age 18)
● Standing by the street
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 139
Keeping a vice establishment
Penalty : Maximum penalty of fine $20,000 and imprisonment of 7 yearsIllustration (3)
Close friend Ah Lan wants to work free lance from an individual apartment (“one apartment one woman”). Ah Hua rents out one of her rooms to her, so that both can share the rent of the flat.
One day, an undercover police engages the service of Ah Lan, and discovers that another woman is working from the same flat.
Ah Lan is then caught, and charged for keeping a vice establishment.
Acts that breach the law :
l Having more than one woman conduct sex trade within the same premise.
l Customer or sex worker or anyone can be a witness to testify that sex trade was conducted on the premise.
l Assisting in management : e.g a person collecting money or directing customer to a room may also be caught under this provision.
Although the law is usually used against bigger operations, sex workers who work from home or rented apartment have to be careful of how they use the premises to prevent breaching the law.
According to the Crime Ordinance 200 Sect 153 ” Seizure and forfeiture in respect of vice establishment”, the police have the power on the direction of the court to seize and forfeit any item found at the vice establishment, and have power to close up premises which violate Sect 139, 143, 144 or 145.
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 143
Letting premises for use as a vice establishment
Tenant or his agent letting premises for use as a vice establishment
Tenant or his agent letting premises for vice
Maximum penalty : fine of $20,000 and imprisonment of 2 years
l Mainly aimed at middle agents or those who gain from rental collection (pimps)
l Law is not usually applied on its own, but used jointly with Sect 130 or Sect 131Illustration (4)
The police were notified of one Ah Hui allowing his girlfriend to provide services from his premises in the day time. The patrol unit discovered that the tenanted apartment belongs to Ah Hui. Ah Hui was hence charged for “letting premises for use as a vice establishment”.
Acts which breach the law :
l Evidence to show that the premise satisfied definition of “vice establishment”, or evidence to show that there had been more than one incidence of sex trade carried out within the premise.
l Providing sex services (oral or vagina sex, or massage of private parts) in consideration of cash at licensed premises. However, providers of such services are most likely to be caught by undercover police disguised as “customers” or during raids.
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 137
Living on earnings of prostitution of others
Maximum penalty : imprisonment of 5 yearsIllustration (5)
Ah Qiang, a construction worker has not had work for the past few weeks. Ah Zhu, who has been co-habiting with Ah Qiang has been receiving customers in the day time. When an undercover police discovered that besides Ah Zhu, Ah Qiang was also staying the same house, Ah Qiang was questioned on his occupation and his relationship with Ah Zhu.
Knowing that Ah Qiang is jobless, the police charged him for “living on earnings of prostitution of others”.
Acts which breach the law :
l Knowingly rely on a sex worker’s income for livelihood.
l Keeping a sex worker’s earning, or accepting money for sex related activities.
l Where there is evidence to show that a person has been aiding, persuading or coercing another to engage in sex work.
A landlord who raises rent on knowing a sex worker’s profession may violate this offence.
Parents, family or boyfriend of a sex worker may also be prosecuted.
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 131Causing Prostitution
Maximum Penalty : imprisonment of 7 yearsIllustration (6)
Ah Ling and Ah Qing are from the same village and were also ex-colleagues. Since the company’s winding up, Ah Ling had been jobless for a year, and has been unable to find a job. Recently, her mother had a stroke, and needed money for medical treatment.
Given her financial limits, Ah Ling consulted Ah Qing. Ah Qing persuaded Ah Ling to be a sex worker to earn some extra income.
Unfortunately, there was a police raid shortly after Ah Ling started work and both women were caught. Ah Ling pleaded for leniency and asked the police to let her off, as she had only just joined the trade through Ah Qing’s recommendation.
As it turned out, Ah Qing was charged with an additional charge of “Causing prostitution”.
If there is evidence to show that a person has become a sex worker because of the accused, for example through persuasion, this would normally point the accused to being a “pimp”.
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 130
Control over persons for purpose of unlawful sexual intercourse or prostitution
Maximum Penalty : imprisonment 14 years
Effective Evidence :
Control of a person for unlawful sexual intercourse is a severe offence. Generally, evidence of imprisonment, control, authority, influence or coercion is required..Illustration (7)
Xia Xia’s boyfriend, Ah Sheng owed moneylenders a great sum of money and was unable to repay his debts. Ah Sheng therefore coerced Xia Xia to prostitute herself to help repay his debts. After repeated transactions, Xia Xia wants to quit but Ah Sheng would not allow her. Instead, he force fed her pills to prevent her from resisting.
One day, while Ah Sheng was sleeping, Xia Xia called the police. The police detained Ah Sheng and charged him for “Control over persons for purpose of prostitution”.
CRIMES ORDINANCE 200 - SECT 147A
Prohibition of signs advertising prostitution
Maximum Penalty : fine $10,000 and imprisonment of 6 months
Acts which breach the law :
l Signs which publicly exhibit sex services eg sign board, neon-lit cases
l Courts will pass sentence depending on the design, position, and use of the sign. Those who obstruct the removal of offending signs or breach the law may face a maximum penalty of fine $10,000 and imprisonment of 6 months. Courts have the power to make the offender bear the cost of removing the sign.
IMMIGRATION ORDINANCE 115 - SECT 41
Breach of condition of stay
Maximum Penalty : imprisonment of 2 yearsIllustration (8)
Ah Zhu came from Shun De. Before coming to Hong Kong, she heard many fellowmen say that Hong Kong is paved with gold, and one can easily make a thousand dollars using tourist visa entry, which is relatively easy. Ah Zhu was tempted.
Ah Zhu followed a tour group to Hong Kong, and went on her own. Thereafter, Ah Zhu followed others to work in a massage parlour.
Not long after starting work, the police during inspection of identification, caught Ah Zhu under “breach of condition of stay”.
Acts which breach the law :
l According to conditions of stay issued under visas, a person is generally prevented from working for money during the stay. This prohibition includes sex work.
l Overstayers – staying in a country for longer than the permitted period given by the visa.
IMMIGRATION ORDINANCE 115 - SECT 42
False statements, forgery of documents and use and possession of forged documents
Maximum Penalty : imprisonment of 3 yearsIllustration 9
Huifen cannot find a job in
Acts which breach the law :
Anyone who is found in possession of false identification document or using another person’s identification or forged document would be charged under this offence.
Months ago, the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men at the Council of Europe, the European Union, released a report on how its member states should address to trafficking and sex work. It divides modern sex-related 'phenomenon' into 3 categories: 'forced prostitution and trafficking in human beings', 'child prostitution', and 'voluntary adult prostitution'. This categorization, to a large extent, is encouraging in the sense that one of the most influential powers in the world has taken a step forward to separate sex work from 'trafficking'. Different measures are listed for different category. In other words, sex workers are no longer generalized as 'trafficking victims', whereas 'trafficking victims' are not necessarily seen as working in the sex industry. The attitude towards trafficking and sex work of the Council of Europe has provided a very good example for all the groups, organizations, and the world powers in particular, how they should view sex work and trafficking. Most of all, in regards to what should be done to 'voluntary adult prostitution', the Council of Europe states in the report that sex workers should be empowered in different ways including "ensuring prostitutes have access to and enough independence to impose safe sexual practices on their clients","respecting the right of prostitutes who freely choose to work as a prostitute to have a say in any policies on the national, regional and local level concerning them", "ending the abuse of power by the police and other public authorities towards prostitutes by developing special training programmes for them". From these recommendations, we clearly see that the Council of Europe has greatly increased its recognition and respect to sex workers' rights.
For a glimpse of the full report, please visit:
Currently, sex workers often move to work in another area to improve their income. Yet, many of them fail to gain what they deserve and are exploited. Some of them also wrongly believe in the words of another party such as travel agents, 'sisters', and are thus fooled to do something they never expect in the destination countries. Different groups and their government officials are getting more concerned about this, and set up different measures to cope with trafficking. However, these measures restrict much sex workerss' freedom of work and migration. They often spend more time, efforts and money to work in another area, which increases more their vulnerability to trafficking and abuse. In fact, the most efficient and effective way to combat trafficking is to recognize sex work as work. When sex workers are restored to labor status, with their rights protected by the labor laws, they can be freed from trafficking and abuse. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) also released similar standpoints as ours towards trafficking and forced labor. For further details about the TUC standpoint, please go to http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-11911-f0.cfm
- Lack of Information and always be deprived and trafficked
Many migrant sex-workers come from poor farming village, criminals always make use of their low education level and the lack of information within the village, they will claim that they can provide transportation, visa and job with affluent monthly income to cheat girls to work out of their homeland. These agents, or criminals as above, often obtain high introduction fee and thus made many girls to be in debt even before they start working. The working conditions are far from ideal and salary is not as expected but they have no way to return home.
- Violence of Bad customers and Thieves
Attribute to the fact that migrant sex-worker has an illegal status, they are lack of power for bargaining and protecting themselves. Many migrant sex-workers are afraid of involuntary return and choose to bear with the violence and not asking for police’s assistance. Customers and criminals know about their vulnerability and they will assert various violent acts like refusing to use condoms, removing condoms during the intercourse, not paying for the service, rape, robbery, pretend to be police officers or even get murdered.
- Power Abuse of Law-executors
Attribute to the fact that migrant sex-workers are lack of knowledge in human rights and the laws, their rights will often be offended by law-executors. For the purpose of presenting good work done before senior officers, police officers will arrest and send the migrant sex-workers back involuntarily without enough evidence. Also, during the arrest and the detention period, they abuse the girls with violence like, verbal threatening, beating up, slapping on the face and unnecessary use of handcuffs. When there is a girl refusing to sign a statement form, there are no human rights anymore. The girls were forbidden to make phone call, ask for lawyer’s assistance, there is no food or water, not allowed to go to the toilet, got intimidated by foul languages and even got beaten up until the girls sign and admit the offences.
- Problem in the Policy of Preventing Human Trafficking
Many countries want to retain their own citizens by restricting immigration regulations. The difficulty of in and out of a country has increased. Thus, migrant sex-workers who desperately earn for a living must rely more on agents to help them out of the country. Restrictive immigration regulations have increased the risk of the girls being trafficked or deprived. Front-line police officers have severe lack of knowledge in human trafficking, the girls being trafficked by criminals would be treated as criminals themselves and got involuntary send-back immediately. There is no appropriate assistance for the girls at all.
- Lack of Assistance
In a foreign territory, migrant sex-workers are lack of knowledge in local laws, social benefits, medical care and assistance of NGOs. They don’t know where to ask for help if they have a problem. Moreover, there is a bias and discrimination of the society against sex-workers, they are afraid of asking for assistance or even to reveal their roles as sex-workers. They are always left alone without any assistance.
- Section 147 Soliciting for an Immoral Purpose
Although prostitution is not illegal in HK, soliciting publicly on street is illegal.
Max Penalty：Fine of $10,000 and 6 months in prison
(If in suspension or have criminal record before, penalty will be heavier)
How the Ordinance is Offended？
à Initiate to talk to the customer first or through body language, facial expression, clothing to transmit the message
à Talk about the cost and content of the service in a conversation
You could not be prosecuted under the following conditions:
à Customer initiates to speak to you and you answer the question
à To have sex inside in a premises (16 years old or more)
à Just standing on the street
- Section 131 Causing Prostitution
A person will be prosecuted with the above section when there is evidence to show that the defendant use verbal persuasion or monetary reward to lure other to becomes a sex-worker. The police normally use this section to prosecute pimps.
Maximum penalty: 7 years in prison
- Section 130 Control over persons for purpose of unlawful sexual intercourse or prostitution
This is a very serious offence. If the police use this section for prosecution, they need to prove that the defendant has exercised control, direction or influence, etc., forceful means over somebody to do sex-work involuntarily.
Maximum Penalty: 14 years in prison
- Section 41 Breach of Condition of Stay
Tourists, holding double-entry visa or visa for business or relative-visiting, cannot work for money in Hong Kong (A visa is issued with conditions: all tourists are forbidden to have work that has monetary reward including sex-work).
Maximum Penalty: 2 years in prison
How the law be offended?
à According to the conditions of the issued document, all tourists are forbidden to have work that has monetary reward including sex-work
à Over stay, or stay longer than the approved period authorized by the Immingration Department.
- Section 42 False statements, forgery of documents and use and possession of forged documents
Anybody is found possessing false identification document, or using identification or false identification document of other (documents including forgery or others’ HKID card, foreign passport, business or double-entry visa, etc.) would be prosecuted.
Maximum Penalty: Fine of $150,000 and 14 years in prison
- Section 38 Prohibition of landing and remaining without permission
It is illegal to land and stay without permission. Most illegal immigrant will be sent back, some will be sent to court.
Maximum Penalty：Fine of $25,000 and 3 years in prison
- Fraud and Provide False Statement to Immigration Officer
Fake marriage is not a criminal offence in HK. However, the Immigration Department would use (1) Fraud and (2) to provide false statement to immigration officer to incriminate people involved in fake marriage.
Maximum Penalty: $150,000 and 14 years in prison (same for those involved in assisting or soliciting for fake marriage)
It is illegal for anybody who provides benefits to pubic officer to make him/her act or not to act. Benefits including money or services (like sex service)
Attention：Not only police officers, it is also illegal to bribe other people like caretaker, property agent, etc.
If the police check your identification document on the street or immigration officers break in for a house raid, no matter whether you have committed an offence or not
- To request the police officer to show his/her identity (Police warrant card), record the officer’s name, UI (Unique Identifier) number, posting and which police station he/she belongs to
- To refuse provide information like: personal and family background (names of husband, school that your children go to, etc.), lease, and property owner
- To refuse to sign any document
- To refuse photographs of yourself or your apartment be taken
- To complain about unreasonable conduct of the police like: arbitrary licence check, force you to move house, threatening, violence, sexual assault, enjoy sex services, etc.
(1)Call 999 hotline
(2)Thru Ziteng：23327182 (24hrs legal assistance hotline)
(3)Call Complaints and Internal Investigation Branch (CIIB)：28667700
Undercover operation involves police officer pretend to be a customer and gather evidence for illegal sex-work by migrants. However, during the operation, undercover police officer:
- Cannot ask how much and the content of the service. If an officer initiate to ask, he offended “soliciting for an immoral purpose”.
- Cannot initiate to have body touch with sex-worker
- Cannot accept sex service
(Presently, the Police Department still has not forbidden officers to accept masturbation service during undercover operation, but we think that this practice is extremely unreasonable)
- Cannot receive any money
The police should have reasonable doubt before they can arrest and before the arrest, Police should Inform You:
- The reason why you are arrested and the associated charge
- State clearly the Cautioned Statement
After the Arrest and during Detention, You should:
Record your finger-prints (palm-print) on a form for the arrested person
You have the Rights:
- Refuse to talk, answer any question or sign any document
- Call friends, relatives or lawyer for assistance. Also, you can request the police to provide a list of lawyers and request to have a lawyer to accompany you before you give the statement
- Obtain a copy of notice for arrest person, to understand your rights during detention (including you are allowed to request food, drink, rest and receive treatment if you feel sick, etc.)
- Sex-workers can normally be detained a maximum of 48 hours. If the police have not collected enough evidence for suing, detainee should be released. If there is enough evidence, detainee should be sent to court for trial within 48 hours. (If police officers need more time to investigate and collect evidence, they may apply from their senior a maximum of 5 days of detention)
- If you are treated with violence, you can complain to the duty officer of the police station or call 999 inside the police station and request a check up for any injury. You can also call for police’s assistance in the police corner inside a hospital
Migrant sex-workers without HKID cannot be on bail,
But they can still apply through a lawyer to the judge or Supreme Court
During the detention, police may request a body search.
Before the body search, Police Should:
- distribute a notice for custody search and state the cause, area and level of the body search.
- all search should be performed by officer of the same sex
- only officers of the same sex can be on scene during the search
- location of the search should protect the reasonable privacy (place that can be locked or entry being restricted)
- if the officer has any arbitrary or insulting behaviour and abuse his/her authority, you can complain to the duty officer of the police station
During Statement Taking
You have the Rights:
- Unless it is voluntary, you can refuse to talk or answer any question. (Remember! After the police has finished the Cautioned Statement, everything the arrest person said would be recorded and would be presented as evidence)
- Request to have a lawyer to accompany you in statement taking
- Refuse to sign and copy any document
- Request to change the content of the statement form no matter whether you have signed it or not
- Request the police to arrange a translator for the statement taking, make sure you understand the questions of the police officer and the content of the statement form
- Officer cannot coerce or induce you for your statement or signature
- Obtain a copy of your statement form
Looking for Assistance:
- If you want to know more information about the laws and regulations concerned with migrant sex-workers or human-trafficking
Call Ziteng 24hrs legal assistance hotline: 2332 7182
- If fellow sex-workers/friends have involved in an incident or missing
Call Ziteng 24hrs hotline immediately：2332 7182
Also, inform us where is the incident happened, name as shown in the identification document and basic information like age and home town. The information provided allow Ziteng to find out where they are as soon as possible!
What is Enjo-Kosai?
Many people think that teenagers who participant in compensated dating are at high risk. Considering they are relatively young, and the mode and attitude of their behavior, most of them have no idea about what kind of information they need, and where they can get help. Additionally, they cannot control the whole situation and dangers may occur.
As Enjo-Kosai teenagers advertise themselves on internet, they don’t have contact with their client face to face before trading. Therefore, many of them have a misunderstanding that they can control everything, and determine how it happens. In fact, this kind of misunderstanding makes them underestimate the risk and overlook some potential dangers.
When the Enjo-Kosai teenagers face their client, they think they can determine when and how the sexual relationship happens. However, not everything is predictable. For example, some clients may not pay, do not use a condom, and even harass them at their school and etc. As they have not thought about such situations, they may not know how to deal with it.
Nowadays, paid dating teens face many risks, such as taking candid photos/videos for their clients, resulting in blackmail or violence. Many of them have had their personal information stolen from the hotel room, such as their address, school name, family or friend contacts, nude photos, or candid videos. Some people use these kinds of information to threaten them, to exchange for money or other things.
Some clients may treat them with violence, refusing to use a condom, or even forcing them to have anal sex. In this situation, some teens will not report to police as they are afraid. If they don’t know how to refuse the client’s requests, and don’t understand the risk associated with this behavior, they are increasing their chances of unsafe sex, which increases the opportunities of venereal disease infection.
Monique meets a new client through the internet. When they get into the hotel room, Monique puts her mobile phone on the table and then talks with the client. After a few minutes, her phone rings and the screen shows ‘Dearest Boyfriend’. Then, Monique takes the shower first, and all is same as usual. Unfortunately, the client recorded the phone number of Monique’s boyfriend and set a hidden camera while she took the shower. He tells Monique that if she doesn’t pay 10,000 dollars to him, he will show the video to her boyfriend. Although Monique is frightened, she calls the police, and they finally catch the bad client.
Joannababy had been compensated dating only a few times, and has little experience, so she always waits for her clients to put on the condom themselves. Once, she noticed that the client has no intention of using a condom, so she suggested using a condom. However, the client continues, even though Joannababy said no and tried to hit back and stop him. The client forces her to have intercourse and hurts her. She doesn’t know what she can do. After a few months, she is told this can be classified as rape, and she reports it to the police.
Compensated dating is still a sensitive topic in society, and a majority of people think that this is a high risk behavior. So, when the paid date teenagers want to talk and share their feelings, it is hard to find someone to talk with. Some will even have emotional problem as a result of this.
Some teenagers want to find methods to protect themselves, but they don’t know how or where they can find assistance. Nowadays, there are many organizations that provide information and support, such as social, sexual health, and premarital pregnancy services. However, as they are afraid that people may stigmatize them, and may even discriminate against them, some of them give up seeking help.
Fiona had been participating in compensated dating for one year. She never told anybody in her family and friends about her situation because she was afraid that people would abandon her. Sometimes, she was happy about her income. Sometimes, some bad customers were very rude, and some did not even pay her. She felt upset as she couldn’t talk to anybody. Finally, she became depressed and had to seek for help from a doctor.
Actually, people participating in Enjo-Kosai have to face many dangers, but it doesn’t mean those cannot be solved and prevented. For example, some teenagers may not know how to prevent violence, but they can learn from the information about self-defense, or even refer to some self-protection methods from sex workers. Also, some paid dating teens who are being threatened can seek help from some related organization, and also report to the police. From our experience, people who were willing to report to the police were more capable of catching the offender.
Why does participating in compensated dating break the law?
There are no specific laws saying that participating in compensated dating is criminal. However, if any people mention to a potential client about sex service and its fee at any public place, they may violate the related laws below:
Chapter 200 Crimes Ordinance
Section 147 Soliciting for an immoral purpose
Maximum penalty: Fine of $10000 and up to 6 months in prison.
Other possibility: Probation orders, Community service orders.
Moon Moon met a guy on the internet, and the guy said that he wanted to date Moon Moon and have sex with her. They discussed the fee on MSN. Then, the guy confirmed the time, date, and location by mobile phone. When they met, the guy asks about the fee and service as he ‘forgot’ what they discussed at MSN, “Would you tell me about your service and the fee, I had forgotten.” Moon Moon noticed that the guy was weird. However, as he asked again and again, she repeated the cost they had discussed before. After that, she was arrested for violating the law, “Soliciting for an immoral purpose”.
If any people help others to advertise on internet, pick them up to meet their clients for earning money, they may be charged with “arranging sex trade for teenagers”. Thus, they may violate the laws below:
Chapter 200 Crimes Ordinance
Section 131 Causing prostitution
If there is any evidence to prove that anyone procures or encourages another person to become a sex worker, he/she may be charged by this law.
Maximum penalty: 7 years in prison
Anyone who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of the prostitution of another shall be guilty.
Maximum penalty: 10 years in prison
Controlling people to be prostitution is a very serious crime. If the police want to prosecute people with this law, they have to prove that there was imprisonment, control, authority, influence or coercion.
Maximum penalty: 14 years in prison
Ming had noticed that the Enjo-Kosai market seemed very big, so he wanted to earn some money for his debt. He talked with some girls on the internet and asked them if they wanted to earn money by compensated dating, and offered to pick them up when they met their clients. Once, he met a girl who just started compensated dating on the internet. Ming wanted to persuade her to join him, and said he would arrange clients for her. After a while, the girl agreed with Ming and wanted to meet him face to face to talk about the details. Then, the undercover policewoman caught him when they met, and charged him with “Controlling others to become prostitute”. Finally, Ming was sent to a rehabilitation centre.
If people who are under 16 years old participate in Enjo-Kosai, both teenagers and the clients may be in big trouble. First, a client who has an unlawful sexual intercourse with girl under 16 should be guilty. If the girl is under 13, the client may be imprisoned for life. Although Enjo-Kosai teenagers are not breaking the law him/herself, they may fall under the ‘protection of children and juveniles ordinance’, meaning the teenager will have to be under the constant supervision of a social worker. This includes their home life, school, social network, time arrangements etc, until they are18 years old.
Chapter 213 Protection of children and juveniles ordinance
For protection reasons, the court has the right to order his/her parents, relative, or social worker supervise the teenager in need of care or protection. The guardian can arrange the place he/she lives, where he/she attends school, and control his/her living style. The maximum protection order is 3 years, but if the guardian thinks that it is necessary to prolong the order, it can apply until the teenager is 18 years old.
Section 124 Intercourse with girl under 16
A man who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 shall be guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: 5 years in prison
There is no specific law directly against Enjo-Kosai in Hong Kong. However, from the cases, people who participate in compensated dating may be indicted and convicted of “Soliciting for immoral purpose” and have a criminal record. The judge will decide the punishment for each individual situation. Until now, no one has been sent to prison temporarily, instead they have been punished by penalty, probation order, or social service order.
If the judge thinks that the penalty is suitable for the indictment, the defendant has to pay for the penalty. The defendant can suggest a time or period of payment, but the judge has the final right to decide it.
This usually applies to relatively young defendants, and the period of the probation order is usually 1 to 3 years. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a probation order may require the offender to comply during the whole or any part of the probation period with regulations the court deems necessary for securing the good conduct of the offender, or in order to prevent a repetition of the same offence or others. If the probation officer thinks that the offender if not cooperative, he/she can request to process the case again, or even enhance the punishment.
This usually applies to a relatively older offender. The judge can request the offender do some social service within a certain period of time, maximum 240 hours.
The offender may face imprisonment. However, he/she may also receive a sentence of imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 years. It means he/she will not be imprisoned, but will have to obey to some specific requirements, including regular reporting, and avoiding violating any other laws.