Hong Kong Risk Report

Security travel advice for Hong Kong

Security information

Threat level: Low
The current travel safety advice for Hong Kong is to remain cautious due to the indication that ISIS may have interests within the country. There are no current travel advisories in place.

A former British colony, Hong Kong is now part of the Republic of China. The terror threat is relatively low and the level of crime is also reasonably low, but isolated incidents of pick pocketing and other street crime can occur mostly in the night market, Kowloon city food district and on the metro (which can be very busy most times of the day).

Recent Security Risk Events
Two officials in Hong Kong warned in late 2015 that there is a possible threat posed by international terrorism. This is due to communities expressing their concern over propaganda leaflets bearing the Islamic State logo circulating the city. There have been no developments since then within Hong Kong, but there have been ISIS related incidents in the region including beheadings in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

Some tourist attractions in Hong Kong can be quite isolated and the city does have its rural areas. Places such as Tai Tam Reservoirs present criminals the perfect opportunity to strike unsuspecting tourists, although this is unlikely. Whilst visiting these areas, be extra vigilant and keep your personal belongings close to you at all times. Most visits to Hong Kong for both business and pleasure purposes are relatively safe.

Security Risks
As with all popular tourist destinations, there has been cases in Hong Kong of individuals having their drinks spiked. This has led to rape, and in isolated incidents people having their organs harvested for sale on the Chinese black market. Make sure that your drink can’t be tampered with in anyway (this might even include someone you do not know trying to drop an ice cube into your drink). Be vigilant of accepting drinks from strangers on nights out and in bars in the daytime. Where possible always have someone you know to keep an eye on your drink, even if you need to leave it for a short period of time.

Demonstrations are known to occur in Hong Kong, usually conducted in peaceful and orderly manner, pre-planned with prior warning. Visitors are advised to stay well clear of public gatherings and not take any part in demonstrations.

International Relations
Since its hand over from the British, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region means that it is exclusively in charge of its internal affairs and external relations by itself and not through China, however the Government of the People's Republic of China is still responsible for Hong Kong’s foreign affairs and defence. China still has an increasing presence on Hong-Kong’s foreign and domestic policy.

Travel considerations
Only use legitimate Hong Kong taxis, each part of Hong Kong has a designated colour. If the taxi does not meet the right colour co-ordination do not use it. It is an easy system to follow as there are only three colours: green for new territories, blue for Lantau Island, red taxis for everywhere else.

General information

Capital: Hong Kong
Official languages: Chinese, English and Cantonese
Religion: No official recognised religion
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
Time zone: UTC +8
Time now in Hong Kong:

Visa requirements
Despite it being part of People's Republic of China, Hong Kong remains a special administrative region and has its own immigration controls. Visitors can stay in Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. Any longer than that you will require a visa. Please check with your local embassy for more information.

Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Hong Kong are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.

Other health risks
Street vendors are common in Hong Kong and they often do not adhere to any health and safety standards. Eating and drinking from them could lead to illness.

Air pollution is increasingly causing issues in the city as increased traffic and vast number of factories make the air thick with chemicals. Be wary of this as pollution can cause subsequent health issues, particularly for those suffering with allergies, asthma or cardiac problems.

Medical facilities are generally high standard and excellent condition however treatment can be costly. Hospitals may require proof of insurance or a deposit before treatment occurs. Ensure that you have adequate travel insurance.

Extreme weather and natural disasters
Typhoon season runs from April to October, during this time please note that heavy rains, landslides and heavy flooding may occur in the region. Please take appropriate shelter and check before your travel of any weather warnings. Public offices close when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is designated.

Consular information

U.S. Embassy Hong Kong
26 Garden Rd,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2523 9011
Email: acshk@state.gov

British Consulate Hong Kong
1 Supreme Court Rd,
Admiralty,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +852 2901 3000
Email: hongkong.consular@fco.gov.uk

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