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5. Using facial covering to prevent identification (Section 3 Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation)

Anyone who uses any facial covering that is likely to prevent identification while he is at an unlawful assembly, unauthorised assembly, or in a public meeting or public procession where a Notice of No Objection has been issued is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 1 year.


“Facial covering” includes masks or any other article of any kind (including paint) that covers all or part of a person’s face.


It will be defence for this offence if it can be established that there is lawful authority or reasonable excuse for using a facial covering. A “reasonable excuse” would include the person wearing the facial covering was engaged in a profession or employment and the facial covering was worn for his physical safety while performing an act connection with his profession or employment; the facial covering was worn for religious reasons; or the facial covering was used for a pre-existing medical or health reason.


Regarding the constitutionality and proportionality of the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation, the Court held that in the context of the degeneration of law and order, and the ever increasing violence and lawlessness commonly seen in 2019, the ban of facial coverings was regarded as a relatively minor incursion into the enjoyment of the freedom of assembly, procession and demonstration, the freedom of speech and expression, and the right to privacy guaranteed by the Bill of Rights Ordinance and the Basic Law. (Kwok Wing Hang v. Chief Executive in Council (2020) 23 HKCFAR 518)