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7. Police powers over meetings, processions and gatherings


The extent and exercise of police powers over meetings, processions and gathering depend on the rank of police officers exercising the power.


Commissioner of Police

If the Commissioner of Police reasonably considers it to be necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, he may, in such manner as he thinks fit, control and direct the conduct of all public gatherings, specify the route by which, and the time at which, any public procession may pass, control and direct the extent to which music may be played, or to which music or human speech or any other sound may be amplified, broadcast, relayed, or otherwise reproduced by artificial means in public places or towards public places.


Police Inspector or above

A police inspector (or above) may:

i) prohibit the display at a public gathering of any flag, banner or other emblem if there is a reasonable belief by the police inspector (or above) that the display of any flag, banner or emblem is likely to cause or lead to a breach of the peace.   Breach of the prohibition may attract a fine at $5,000 and imprisonment for 2 years.


ii) prevent the holding of, stop, disperse or vary the route of any public gathering whether or not notification to the Commissioner of Police was given.


iii) stop or disperse (1) any public gathering exclusively for religious purpose, or (2) any meeting not in a public place, or (3) any type of gathering at any time, if reasonably believes a breach of the peace may result.


iv) by exhibiting notices, erecting physical barriers, oral announcements, or use reasonably necessary force to bar any person’s, or any class of person’s, access to any public place in order to prevent any un-notified public meeting or public procession from taking place.


Police officer of any rank

Where a police inspector has issued a prohibition to display at a public gathering of any flag, banner or other emblem, any police officer may seize and detain any flag, banner or emblem. 


Any police officer may if reasonably necessary enter any premises or places and stop and board any vehicle, tramcar, train or vessel, and use such force as may be necessary for these purposes.


Any police officer may give any order as he considers necessary to prevent the holding of, stop, disperse, or vary the route of any public gathering, and may use reasonable force and enter any premises or place which the meeting takes place. The police would normally communicate such orders to the public by raising a flag or announcements through loudhailers or speakers.


Any police officer may prevent the holding of, stop, or disperse any public meeting or public processions (1) not having been notified to, or (2) contravening of any conditions imposed by, the Commissioner of Police.