Press Release



LCQ6: Use of mobile phones and pagers at performance venues


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr David Lan, in the Legislative Council today(May 3):


In spite of audio and visual reminders for the audience to switch off their mobile phones and pagers before the commencement of films and performances, there are still people ignoring such reminders. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the other measures it has taken to ensure that the audience switch off their mobile phones and pagers before they are admitted to the public entertainment venues managed by the Government authority, the type of personnel tasked to enforce these measures and the effectiveness of such measures; and

(b) whether it will consider enacting legislation to enforce such measures; if not, of the reasons for that?


Madam President,

My replies to Hon Bernard Chan's questions are:

(a) Before replying to The Hon. Bernard Chan's question, I would like to point out that disturbance caused by the use of mobile phones and pagers during performances is not particularly serious at the performance venues managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department; in other words in the vast majority of venues managed by the public sector. For some major venues such as the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Hong Kong Coliseum and the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, the level of reception inside the auditorium or arena is low and calls cannot be connected at certain locations. However, to minimize distraction to audience and performers, apart from audio and visual reminders requesting audience to switch off the sound-emitting devices of their mobile phones and pagers before commencement of performances, the following measures are also taken -

(i) printing of the house rule on switching off of mobile phones and pagers onto the front page of the house programme of performances;

(ii) putting up clear notices of such house rule at the admission points of the venue;

(iii) in some venues where the use of mobile phones and pagers poses a problem, the house rule wording has been further enhanced with the inclusion of a warning message to alert audience that they may be requested to leave the venue in case of non-compliance with the rule; and

(iv) the playing of the house rule announcement tape to remind the audience during the intermission whenever necessary.

To reinforce these preventive measures, front-of-house staff such as ticket checkers and ushers are deployed to monitor the audience during admission, intermission and throughout the performance so as to give advice and take appropriate action in case the patrons violate the house rule. During admission, audience who are seen to be carrying portable phones or pagers will be asked to switch off the beeping devices before entering the venue. During the intermission when audience are found using the portable phones or pagers inside the venue, staff will approach and advise them to use such devices outside the venue and to switch them off once re-entering the venue. So far, these arrangements are found to be effective.

(b) We do not see any need to enact legislation to prohibit the use of mobile phones and pagers inside the auditorium of a performance venue because the Civic Centres Regulation made under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132) has already conferred the manager of a civic centre or any authorized staff the power to direct persons to leave the venue for disobeying any reasonable order given by the manager in furtherance of the proper management of a civic centre.

End/Wednesday, May 3, 2000