Law and the City - A Walk Through the Evolution of Hong Kong's Legal System (On Private Request)

    (On Private Request)
    Sheung Wan and Central
    Man Mo Temple, Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
    Approx. 2 hours
  • FEE
    (On Private Request)
    Note: this tour is only available on Private Request- if interested, please contact our email [email protected] for further inquiry.

    The rule of law is often said to be a cornerstone of Hong Kong society and it is central to the city’s status as an international financial hub. The British legal system that is followed here is so interwoven with how the city has evolved that it is taken for granted, and generally just not much thought about.

    However, have you ever wondered how Hong Kong ‘worked’ before the British came? What kind of laws governed this “barren rock” on a remote southern edge of Qing China? Or how, after Hong Kong became a British colony, did a totally alien legal system get transplanted here? Was the initial enforcement of law and order really a blessing of British benevolent justice that its more imperially-driven advocates claimed it to be?

    Now fast-forward to post-1997, how has Hong Kong’s legal system adjusted to a new political reality, and what controversial legal rulings have been made in the SAR thus far, as stern monuments of the city’s colonial-era legal legacy look on?

    On this one-of-a-kind walking tour from Sheung Wan to Central, we will explore the evolution of Hong Kong’s legal system and the rule of law in our land. Along this heritage route, we’ll visit a series of beautiful historic sites and architecture and talk about how they chart distinct phases in the development of the law in Hong Kong as well as the city’s own legal culture.

    Tour Highlights:
    • Learn about how justice was traditionally administered by Chinese people in Hong Kong (the ritual spilling of cockerel blood among one of the procedures involved) and how the British responded to the “culture shock” after they arrived in the 1840s.
    • Hear stories about the heavy-handedness of the colony’s early founders as they created a set of institutions, legislations and punitive measures (think flogging, hanging, transportation, caning and the use of cangue) to impose law and order in Hong Kong.
    • Find out how a major legal industry has developed and prospered in Hong Kong as it became a leading trade port and international financial hub.
    • Learn about the foundations of the rule of law in Hong Kong, most notably the Royal Instructions and Letters Patent, and learn about the landmark judicial cases in post-1997 Hong Kong.
    • Admire close-up a finely-kept collection of heritage architecture that symbolises law and order in Hong Kong as your guide decodes their details and how they’ve shaped the cityscape.

    This walking tour may well be steeped in history, but it’s very much a thoughtful appreciation of contemporary Hong Kong suitable for all ages.