LCQ15: Fund-raising activities

     Following is a question by the Hon Chim Pui-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (March 30):


     I have learnt that recently fund-raising activities have frequently been conducted at the pedestrian walkway outside Admiralty Station of the MTR Island Line by persons holding identification documents.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities have imposed restrictions on the location, date and time of these fund-raising activities so that such activities will not cause traffic chaos and endanger the safety of members of the public;

(b) whether the authorities' prior approval is required for conducting these fund-raising activities, and whether notices are issued to inform the public; and

(c) given that some organisations have mobilised elderly people to conduct on-street fund-raising activities and some members of the public feel pressurised as they worry that they may appear to be very unsympathetic if they refuse to donate money, whether the authorities will review the relevant requirements on fund-raising activities?



     The Administration strives to provide a friendly environment, with administrative procedures kept to a minimum, to facilitate organisations to mobilise community resources for their fund-raising activities.  At the same time, the Administration needs to ensure that such activities do not cause nuisance or inconvenience to the public, and that the interests of the donors are safeguarded.  The regulation of fund-raising activities straddles the programme areas of a number of Government bureaux and departments.  They have put in place various regulatory and administrative measures.

     At present, the Director of Social Welfare (DSW) may issue Public Subscription Permits (PSPs) under Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap. 228) for any collection of money or sale or exchange for donation of badges, tokens or similar articles for charitable purposes in public places; the Secretary of Home Affairs (SHA) may also issue PSPs under the Summary Offences Ordinance for the above-mentioned activities for other purposes.  The Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing (CTEL) is empowered by the Gambling Ordinance (Cap. 148) and the Gambling Regulations (Cap. 148A) to grant lottery licences.  For the sale of goods in public places for raising funds, temporary hawker licences (THLs) may be issued by the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132).

     The Administration's co-ordinated reply to the Hon Chim Pui-chung's three parts of the question is set out below:

(a) Before making an application for PSPs to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and Home Affairs Bureau (HAB), organisations must first obtain approval from the management authority of the venues, including Government bureaux/departments concerned.  In considering these applications, apart from the date, time and location approved by the management authority of the venues, both SWD and HAB stipulate that relevant activities cannot be conducted during the flag-selling period on flag days to avoid causing confusion to the public.  The conditions of PSPs, including that fund-raisers should not cause obstruction or annoyance to others in public places, are also listed in the permits.

     Lottery licence holders must obtain approval from the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) in advance before selling lottery tickets on public streets.  In considering these applications, TELA would consult relevant Government departments so as to avoid undesirable impact on pedestrian flow or more than one fund-raising activities being conducted in the same venue or its vicinity.  Lottery licences also stipulate that such activities must not cause public order problems or nuisance.

     If individual organisations would like to raise fund by selling goods in public places, they have to apply to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) for THLs.  Upon receipt of applications, FEHD would consult relevant departments.  THLs would only be granted if there is no objection by the relevant departments.

     If an organisation has to occupy government land temporarily for setting up counters or booths, etc, the organisation has to apply to the District Lands Office (DLO) concerned.  DLO would consider issuing to the applicant organisation an approval letter for temporary occupation of government land, which applies only to counters or booths, etc occupying government land.  The approved area of land is usually less than three feet times six feet.

(b) Organisations approved by DSW or SHA and issued with PSPs are required to display the PSPs prominently at the venues of the fund-raising activities to inform the public that the fund-raising activities have been legitimately approved.  If a fund-raising activity is not held at a fixed location, fund-raisers are required to carry and produce copies of the PSP for inspection upon request by any person during the fund-raising activity.  SWD also uploads the information of the approved charitable fund-raising activities in public places onto its website regularly for public information.  The public may also call SWD's hotline 2343 2255 for enquiries.  For information on fund-raising activities for other than charitable purposes, the public may make an enquiry to the Home Affairs Department.

     In accordance with the additional conditions imposed by CTEL for monitoring the sale of lottery tickets on public streets, the licence holders must display the names of the organisations prominently during the sale of lottery tickets.  Moreover, the person-in-charge at each sale location should also keep a copy of the licence and the letter of permission issued by CTEL for the relevant activities for inspection by the public as necessary.  The public may also check the names of organisations granted with lottery licences and the approved locations of their activities through browsing the website of TELA or calling its Licensing Section.

     As FEHD is mainly responsible for monitoring hawking activities and environmental hygiene issues, district hawker control teams will conduct patrols on the streets of the districts every day to inspect the fund-raising booths granted with THLs to ensure that the licencees comply with the Hawker Regulation (Cap. 132AI) and licensing conditions while conducting such activities.  If issues under the purview of other departments are discovered, the hawker control teams would refer these cases to relevant departments for follow-up action.  The public may check on the website of FEHD if fund-raising activities on the streets have been granted with THLs.  Members of the public who discover fund-raising activities suspected to be unlicensed or causing obstruction to the pedestrians or environmental hygiene problems may report to the 1823 Call Centre.

(c) The Administration has been educating the public to be smart donors and will continue to keep the regulatory regime and administrative measures under review.

     Separately, the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong (the Commission) is conducting a review of the law and regulatory framework relating to charities in Hong Kong.  The Commission's Charities Sub-committee plans to issue a consultation paper later this year.  The Administration will keep in view the progress of the Commission's review and its recommendations.

Ends/Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:28