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1. Police bail

When a person is being investigated by the police for a potential crime, they may be granted police bail. This means that they are allowed to be released from custody on bail either during the investigation or after being formally charged with a criminal offence. The police have the authority to grant bail, and this power is outlined in the Police Force Ordinance.


If bail is granted during the investigation, it is given until the date when the suspect is required to report to the designated police station. On the other hand, if bail is granted after the person has been charged, they must appear at a specific Magistrate's Court on a designated date.


According to section 52(1) of the Police Force Ordinance, the officer in charge of the police station where the arrested person is held has the responsibility to consider whether to grant bail. The officer should consider the nature of the offence, the arrestee’s background history and personal circumstances including but not limited to factors such as previous instances of absconding from bail or committing offences while on bail. The final decision of granting police bail or not should be based on a reasonable consideration of all relevant factors.


After considering all the relevant circumstances, the officer in charge of the police station will make the decision to grant bail (on the condition of appropriate bail terms) or to refuse to grant police bail and bring the arrested person before a Magistrate as soon as possible.


Refusal to renew bail

If an arrested person has been granted police bail but decides to refuse to renew bail, the police will be forced either to charge or to release him/her. The arrested person should be reminded of the risks that (1) if the Police decide to immediately lay charge, he or she might be held in a police cell until being taken to court for the first appearance, and that (2) if the Police decide to release him/her, they could always re-arrest and charge him/her at any time.



When bail was granted by the Police or a court but the arrested person fails to show up as required, he or she will be regarded as “absconded”. The police may put his/her name on the wanted list and apply for an arrest warrant. Additionally, absconding from court bail in itself can constitute a separate offence. If a person has a record of absconding, it will be extremely difficult to apply for bail at a later stage.