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I. Fingerprints, blood, body samples, and photographs

Do the police have powers to take these from the arrestee?

Under section 59 of the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232), fingerprints and photographs are considered identifying particulars which upon arrest may be taken by any police officer and the police have a general power to take photographs, finger/palm-prints, weight and height from any arrested person.


Under section 59A of Police Force Ordinance, blood is considered an intimate sample and appropriate consent from the arrestee would be needed in order for the sample to be taken for forensic analysis. In addition to the arrestee’s consent, authorisation from a police officer of or above the rank of superintendent as well as magistrate under section 59B is needed.


Under section 59C of Police Force Ordinance, non-intimate body samples like head hair, swabs taken from the mouth, and saliva may be taken from an arrested person with or without their consent for forensic analysis. Such collection must be authorised by a police officer of or above the rank of superintendent. If the arrested person does not consent, the authorities can use reasonable force to extract samples from him under sections 59C(4)(e) and 59C(8).