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1. Criminal damage (Section 60 Crimes Ordinance)

A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage it or being reckless as to whether it would be destroyed or damaged is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.


If a person destroys or damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another, intending to destroy or damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be destroyed or damaged, and intending to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered is also guilty of this offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.


A charge under section 60(2) of the Crimes Ordinance is more serious than a charge under section 60(1) because the former has to be sentenced on the basis of endangering the life of another, while the latter only involves damage to property. Under section 60(2), the offence would become more serious if it alleges an intent to endanger life. (HKSAR v. Chong Yam Miu, Lucas [2020] HKDC 216)


It is necessary to prove that the danger to life results from the destruction of or damage to the property rather than simply proving that it resulted from the act which caused the destruction or damage.


“Damage” is very widely defined for the purposes of this offence. In addition to physical harm, it also covers any injury that impairs the value or usefulness of property. The damage may be temporary or permanent, and it does not have to be tangible. Examples of damage includes taking away a part of or disabling something so as to make it temporarily useless, applying water-soluble paint on a pavement, and smearing mud of the wall of a building.