Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ11: Airport Restricted Area Permits

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Leung Kwok-hung in the Legislative Council today (February 8):


     A member of the public sought assistance from me, indicating that he was successful in being employed as a flight attendant, but as he was convicted of possession of dangerous drug three years ago, his application for an Airport Restricted Area Permit ("ARAP") was rejected, thus causing him to eventually lose this job opportunity.  The member of the public said that, according to his understanding, as a period of three years has elapsed since his aforesaid conviction and he has not been convicted again, his criminal record shall not be disclosed unless so permitted by him under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance ("the Ordinance") (Cap. 297), but as the Ordinance is not applicable to the vetting and approval of applications for ARAP, he lost the job as a result.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) other than the aforesaid vetting and approval procedures of ARAP, what permits the vetting and approval procedures of which are also not covered by the Ordinance; further, whether there is any existing channel to notify the relevant persons that the Ordinance is not applicable to such procedures;

(b) given that my Member's Office made an enquiry to the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD") about the time when an ARAP could be issued to the aforesaid member of the public, but CAD replied that this was an official secret and could not be disclosed, whether the Government has assessed if this will cause any unnecessary distress to that member of the public, and violate the original intent of the Ordinance; and

(c) whether the Government will consider publishing an explicit set of criteria for vetting and approving ARAP applications (particularly the specific criteria adopted for "security vetting"), for the reference of those members of the public preparing to work for the relevant organisations; if so, of the implementation timeframe; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 297) ("the Ordinance") aims at facilitating the rehabilitation of persons who are convicted the first time and whose offences are minor in nature.  Generally speaking, section 2 of the Ordinance provides that where a person, on a first conviction, is sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding $10,000, and has not been convicted of an offence for the second time within a period of three years, he/she shall be deemed to have no conviction record.  Section 2 of the Ordinance also sets out similar arrangements on triad-related offences under the Societies Ordinance (Cap. 151).

     However, section 4 of the Ordinance also sets out a list of proceedings-related and further exceptions, specifying the circumstances to which the above arrangements do not apply.  Such exceptions cover the admission, employment and authorisation-related proceedings of a wide range of professionals, vocational drivers and prescribed offices, or related disciplinary proceedings.  They also include proceedings relating to a person's suitability to be granted or to continue to hold any licence, permit or dispensation under any law, etc.

     As an air transportation hub of Hong Kong and in the region, the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handles a large volume of air traffic and a large number of passengers every day.  We must ensure that a high level of aviation security is maintained.  According to the Aviation Security Regulation (Cap. 494A), the Airport Authority is responsible for devising the airport restricted area permit ("ARAP") scheme and implementing related procedures to ensure the strict control and management of persons entering and leaving the airport restricted areas.

     Under sections 4 and 5 of the Aviation Security Regulation, any person who enters an airport restricted area shall have a valid permit unless he/she is an air-crew member, a passenger entering the area for the purpose of embarking on/disembarking an aircraft, or being escorted by a person authorised by the Airport Authority.  The ARAP is issued by the Airport Authority under the Aviation Security Regulation.  The vetting criteria are set by the Civil Aviation Department in consultation with concerned departments.  The major considerations include whether the applicant has committed any offences relating to aviation security, dangerous drugs, violence, dishonesty or fraud, unlawful society and criminal damage, etc. and the seriousness of the concerned offence.

     In the light of the updated position of global and local aviation security, we will review the criteria for vetting applications for ARAPs from time to time with a view to striking an appropriate balance between aviation security and rehabilitation of offenders.

Ends/Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:06


Print this page