Traveling Luck for Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Hong Kong is located in Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China.

Land in Hong Kong is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north.

Chinese/Hong Kong land covers an area of 1092 square kilometers which is six times the size of Washington, DC

As for the Chinese/Hong Kong climate; subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall.

Chinese/Hong Konger speak Chinese (Cantonese), English; both are official.

Places of note in Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Chinese/Hong Kong National Map

Chinese/Hong Kong Map

Regions of Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.


Hong Kong S.A.R., China Country Profile

Hong Kong has a free market, entrepot economy, highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Gross imports and exports (i.e., including reexports to and from third countries) each exceed GDP in dollar value. Even before Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration on 1 July 1997, it had extensive trade and investment ties with China. Hong Kong has been further integrating its economy with China because China's growing openness to the world economy has made manufacturing in China much more cost effective. Hong Kong's reexport business to and from China is a major driver of growth. Per capita GDP is comparable to that of the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% from 1989 to 2005, but Hong Kong suffered two recessions in the past eight years because of the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 and the global downturn in 2001-2002. Although the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 also battered Hong Kong's economy, a solid rise in exports, a boom in tourism from the mainland because of China's easing of travel restrictions, and a return of consumer confidence resulted in the resumption of strong growth from late 2003 through 2005.

Chinese/Hong Kong natural resources include outstanding deepwater harbor, feldspar

more than 200 islands

Chinese/Hong Kong religion is eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%.

Natural hazards in Hong Kong include occasional typhoons.

Travel Advice on Hong Kong S.A.R., China

Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China)

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Crime and Health sections.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The threat from terrorism in Hong Kong is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indeterminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Around 540,000 British tourists visit Hong Kong every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Hong Kong is for replacing lost and stolen passports and petty crimes.  You should take sensible precautions against pickpocketing and other street crime.

  • Throughout 2006 the Hong Kong press reported instances of spiked drinks.  You should ensure that anything you drink cannot be tampered with.  You should also be wary of accepting drinks from strangers.  Please see the Crime Section of this travel advice for more details.

  • The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October.  Please see the Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice and Hurricanes for more information.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime
The incidence of violent crime is very low but pickpocketing and other street crime can occur in urban areas.  You should take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas.  You should be careful of your belongings when checking out of hotels.  There have also been some isolated incidents of robberies in Hong Kong’s Country Parks since 2005.  These incidents have been reduced following a crime prevention operation by the Hong Kong Police.  Nevertheless, if you intend to hike in Hong Kong’s Country Parks you should stick to marked trails and avoid carrying credit/bank cards or large amounts of cash.
Throughout 2006 instances of spiked drinks were reported in the local press.  You should ensure that anything you drink cannot be tampered with.  You should also be wary of accepting drinks from strangers and always have a trusted friend to keep an eye on any unfinished drink if you need to leave it for a period of time.
Political Situation
Hong Kong is a stable society underpinned by the rule of law.  Large-scale demonstrations are becoming more frequent in Hong Kong, but despite the substantial numbers these sometimes attract, they have been conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.  However, you should take sensible precautions against petty crime if in the vicinity.
Hong Kong Country Profile


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law.  There are on the spot fines for littering and spitting.  There is zero tolerance for ticketless travel the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).
You should not become involved with illicit drugs of any kind.  Possession of these drugs can lead to imprisonment.  As a general precaution don’t take photographs of military installations in Hong Kong.  Since the 1997 handover, the defence of Hong Kong has been the responsibility of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  All previous British military barracks now belong to the PLA.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People's Republic of China, it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls.  You can stay in Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some places require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter, or in some cases, before permitting the children to leave.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London at: http://www.hketolondon.gov.hk before travelling.

Visits to Mainland China

Those travelling on a British passport to Mainland China via Hong Kong must obtain a Chinese visa before arrival at the border.  Visas are not available on arrival at the Chinese border for British passport holders.  Failure to follow this guideline could result in a fine and possible detention by the Mainland Chinese authorities.  Visitors entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland should note they will need to be in possession of a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, as the cost of medical care in Hong Kong is high.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance

The UK and Hong Kong Reciprocal Health Care Arrangement terminated on 30 June 1997.

You may undergo temperature screening at borders.  Depending on results, further medical examinations may be required.

Every year several cases of dengue fever are reported in Hong Kong.  The numbers are small in comparison to the total population and outbreaks have been localised.  You are recommended to take precautions against mosquito bites.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on health, check the Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

In January 2007 there were a few reported cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Hong Kong but only in birds.  No human infections or deaths have been reported.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed human cases elsewhere in the region and there have been human fatalities in China.  If you plan to visit China please also view the latest China Travel Advice.

The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low.  As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet, which gives more detailed advice and information.

NATURAL DISASTERS

The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).  You can also access http://www.nhc.noaa.gov for updates.  Please also see Hurricanes for more information.

Typhoons very occasionally hit Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides.  Warning is given in advance.  Public offices shut down when the "Typhoon 8" signal is hoisted.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas please see:  What We Can Do To Help

Employment
You must obtain an appropriate visa before arriving in Hong Kong if it is your intention towork there.  For more information, you can contact the nearest Chinese mission with visa issuing facilities or the Hong Kong Immigration Department.  Their address is Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong (tel:  2824 4055, fax:  2598 8388).
Shopping
The vast majority of retail outlets are fair and honest.  However, you should be aware that a number of incidents have occurred in the Nathan Road/Tsim Tsa Tsui area where shoppers have been overcharged for older models of goods.  You should shop around for prices before purchase as claims for compensation after goods have been paid will have to be referred to the consumer council website.  You should be aware that this process may take some time.