SKIP NAVIGATION Office Of The Ombudsman, Hong Kong

Our Work & Reports

Direct Investigation

 

Section 7(1)(a)(ii) of The Ombudsman Ordinance (Cap. 397):

 

The Ombudsman may investigate any action taken by or on behalf of an organisation set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 in the exercise of her administrative functions, in any case where notwithstanding that no complaint has been made to her, she is of the opinion that any person may have sustained injustice in consequence of maladministration in connection with that action.

 

Considerations for Initiating Direct Investigation

 

Major considerations for initiating a direct investigation include:

 

  • whether the matter involved is of significant public interest and concern
  • whether a complaint will otherwise not be actionable, e.g. it is made anonymously or not by an aggrieved person, where the matter is nevertheless of significant concern to The Ombudsman because of the magnitude or seriousness of the maladministration that may be involved
  • whether there is room for improving public administration or addressing systemic deficiencies
  • whether the time is opportune, weighing the consequences of not doing so among other priorities
  • whether there is duplication of efforts from other authorities

 

Procedure for launching direct investigation

 

Before deciding whether or not to launch a direct investigation, we may conduct a preliminary inquiry. If the inquiry points to the need for further study, we will formally notify the head of the organisation concerned of our launch of direct investigation. Where the circumstances warrant, we may launch a direct investigation without conducting a preliminary inquiry.

Latest Reports

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Problem of Alleged Illegal Ope

September 2022

Problem of Alleged Illegal Operation of Kaito Ferry Service
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September 2022

Problem of Abandoned Vehicles on Government Land
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May 2022

Effectiveness of Rodent Prevention and Control by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
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May 2022

Civil Aviation Department’s regulation of paragliding activities
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April 2022

Management and effectiveness of waste separation bins
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February 2022

Government’s Regulation of Boarding Facilities for Foreign Domestic Helpers
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December 2021

Regulatory Work on Dog Keepers’ Obligations by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
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December 2021

Government’s Control of Illicit Fuelling Activities
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November 2021

Transport Department’s Requirements for Physical Fitness Certification of Driving Licence Applicants/Holders
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July 2021

Government’s Arrangements for Engaging Outside Interpretation Services
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July 2021

Effectiveness of Mosquito Prevention and Control by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
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May 2021

Regulatory Regime for Lifts and Escalators
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May 2021

Management and Repair of Public Toilets by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and Architectural Services Department
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March 2021

Government’s Handling of Misconnection of Private Building Sewers to Stormwater Collection System
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March 2021

Government’s Mechanism for Monitoring Vaccines Provided by Private Healthcare Facilities
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December 2020

Effectiveness of Joint Office for Investigation of Water Seepage Complaints in Handling Water Seepage Reports
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December 2020

Arrangements for Production, Distribution, Stocktaking and Use of CSI Masks
DI430 Full Report Small Size

October 2020

Monitoring of Outsourced Street Cleansing Services by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
DI439 Full Report Small Size

October 2020

Maintenance and Repair of Play and Fitness Equipment in Public Rental Housing Estates Managed by Housing Department
DI433 Cover Photo Small Size

July 2020

Utilisation of Low-charge Hospital Beds in Private Hospitals
DI436 Small icon

July 2020

Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Regulation of Public Coaching Activities at Public Swimming Pools
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July 2020

Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Allocation of Swimming Lanes in Public Swimming Pools and Its Monitoring Mechanism
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March 2020

The Issue of Idle Flyovers and “Bridges to nowhere”
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January 2020

Lands Department’s Enforcement against Commercial Use of Public Pedestrian Passages and Public Atria in Private Malls
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January 2020

Mechanisms for Verifying Travel Records of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance/Social Security Allowance Applicants and Recipients
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January 2020

Education Bureau’s Mechanisms for Approving Applications for School Fee Revision by Direct Subsidy Scheme/Private Schools and Collection of Other Charges by Private Schools
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December 2019

Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Arrangements for Depositing Layout Plans of Public Pleasure Grounds in Land Registry
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December 2019

Allocation Mechanism of Ward Offices under Housing Department
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November 2019

Notification Mechanism and Arrangements of Housing Department and Social Welfare Department for Imprisoned Singleton Public Rental Housing Tenants
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October 2019

Government’s Planning and Arrangements for Ancillary Facilities for Electric Private Vehicles
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October 2019

Mechanism for Identifying and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse Cases
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August 2019

Buildings Department’s Implementation of Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme
DI418

March 2019

Marine Department’s Arrangements for Private Vessel Moorings
DI411

March 2019

Government’s Follow-up Mechanism Regarding Psychological Health Assessment of School Children
DI422

February 2019

Government’s support for non-Chinese speaking students
DI423

February 2019

Government’s handling of two trees in front of Tang Chi Ngong Building of University of Hong Kong
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December 2018

Social Welfare Department’s Monitoring of Services of Residential Care Homes for the Elderly
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December 2018

Government’s Regulation of Proprietary Chinese Medicine
DI417

November 2018

Regulation of Illegal Burials outside Permitted Burial Grounds by the Home Affairs Department and the Lands Department
DI413

October 2018

Housing Department’s Arrangement for Using Idle Spaces in Public Housing Estates
DI403

August 2018

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s Rental Management of Market Stalls
DI416

August 2018

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s Regulation of Market Stalls
DI391

June 2018

Immigration Department’s mechanism for following up cases of unregistered birth
DI414

April 2018

Government Departments' Handling of the Problem of Air-conditioner Dripping
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March 2018

Water Supplies Department's Maintenance of Government Water Mains and Risk Management (Full report in Chinese version only)
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February 2018

Government’s Control over Fly-tipping of Construction Waste and Landfilling Activities on Private Land (Full report in Chinese version only)
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February 2018

The Mechanism of the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health for Handling Smoking Offences (Full report in Chinese version only)
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January 2018

Social Welfare Department’s Support Services for Persons with or Suspected to Have Mental Health Problems and Their Families/Carers and Neighbours (Full report in Chinese version only)
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November 2017

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s System of Safety Control for Imported Fruits and Vegetables (Full report in Chinese version only)
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October 2017

Transport Department’s handling of a road section enclosed and left idle for prolonged period (Full report in Chinese version only)
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September 2017

Lands Department’s Enforcement against a Village House with Irregularities (Full report in Chinese version only)
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September 2017

Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Criteria and Procedures for Procuring and Withdrawing Library Materials (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2017

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s criteria for publicising list of traders involved after issuing Food Safety Order (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2017

The arrangement between Housing Department and Water Supplies Department regarding payment of water charges for common areas and vacant units in public housing estates (Full report in Chinese version only)
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May 2017

Government’s Regulation of Factory Canteens (Full report in Chinese version only)
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April 2017

Hong Kong Airport Authority’s mechanism for issuing Airport Restricted Area Permits
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March 2017

Housing Department’s Mechanism for Taking Follow-up Action against Unauthorised Alterations by Public Housing Tenants**Full Report in Chinese Version Only
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March 2017

Education Bureau’s Regulation of Institutions Offering Non-local Higher and Professional Education Courses (Full report in Chinese version only)
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March 2017

Government Regulation of Special Transport Services to Persons with Mobility Difficulties (Full report in Chinese version only)
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January 2017

Arrangements on Display of Publicity Materials in Public Housing Estates (Full report in Chinese version only)
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December 2016

Education Bureau’s Regulation of Kindergarten Application Fees
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September 2016

Temporary Closure of Public Swimming Pools / Beaches under Leisure and Cultural Services Department Due to Shortage of Lifeguards (Full report in Chinese version only)
DI371 Report Cover

September 2016

Lands Department’s System of Regularisation of Illegal Occupation of Government Land and Breach of Lease Conditions (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2016

Government’s Handling of Four Stonewall Trees along Bonham Road (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2016

Government’s Tree Management Regime and Practices (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2016

Marine Department’s Follow-up Mechanism on Recommendations Made in Marine Incident Investigation Reports (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2016

Government’s Follow-up Actions regarding Insufficient Provision of Public Columbarium Niches (Full report in Chinese version only)
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March 2016

Home Affairs Department’s Management of Booking and Use of Facilities of Community Halls and Community Centres
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March 2016

Problems Relating to Enforcement of Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance (Full report in Chinese version only)
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January 2016

Government’s Implementation of Strengthened Control of Exhaust Emissions from Petrol and LPG Vehicles (Full report in Chinese version only)
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December 2015

Method of Calculation of Waiting Time for Public Rental Housing and Release of Information (Full report in Chinese version only)
DI248 For Cover

December 2015

Management of Permitted Burial Grounds (Full report in Chinese version only)
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August 2015

Regulation of Fire Safety Measures for New Territories Exempted Houses (Full report in Chinese version only)
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August 2015

Water Supplies Department’s Mechanism for Handling Leaks of Private Water Pipes (Full report in Chinese version only)
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May 2015

Rating and Valuation Department’s Regulation of Display of Building Numbers (Full report in Chinese version only)
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March 2015

Safety Regulation of Eco-friendly Refrigerants (Full report in Chinese version only)
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March 2015

Procedures for Approval of Loan Applications and Recovery of Debts under the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (Full report in Chinese version only)
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March 2015

Education Bureau’s Non-disclosure of Teachers’ Registration Status (Full report in Chinese version only)
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January 2015

Mechanisms Used to Review and Monitor Eligibility of Existing Tenants in Subsidised Public Housing (Full report in Chinese version only)
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October 2014

Government’s Regulation of Guesthouses
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June 2014

Regulatory Measures and Enforcement Actions against Street Obstruction by Shops (Full report in Chinese version only)
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June 2014

Management and Release of Patient Records by Hospital Authority
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March 2014

The Access to Information Regime in Hong Kong (Supplementary information posted on 17 April 2014)
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March 2014

Public Records Management in Hong Kong (Supplementary information posted on 17 April 2014)
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January 2014

Mechanism of Transport Department for Monitoring the Frequencies of Franchised Bus Services (Full report in Chinese version only)
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January 2014

“Special Procedures” of Buildings Department for Handling UBW Cases Involving Celebrities
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October 2013

Control of Healthcare Professions Not Subject to Statutory Regulation
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October 2013

Regulation of Sale of Chilled Meat**Full Report in Chinese Version Only

Full Investigation

A full investigation is conducted if a complaint is complex, especially if it involves issues of principle, systemic flaws, gross injustice or serious maladministration. After thorough investigation, we will produce a full investigation report with our findings and comments, and where applicable, our recommendations for possible remedies or improvements.

Latest Reports

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March 2022

Transport Department’s handling of a media organisation’s application for a Certificate of Particulars of Vehicle

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January 2022

Handling of a large-scale compulsory quarantine exercise by Department of Health and Civil Aid Service

FEHD_IR_EN202201

January 2022

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s failure to provide oath-taking or declaration services for hawker licensing matters

TD_IR_EN202112

December 2021

Publicity about minibus section fares under the Government Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities by Labour and Welfare Bureau and Transport Department

Lands_IR_EN202111

November 2021

Lands Department’s handling of occupation of Government land by an arch canopy

HD_IR_EN202111

November 2021

Housing Department’s processing of applications for “Priority Scheme for Families with Elderly Members”

HD_IR_EN202110

October 2021

Housing Department’s assessment of an application for paying original rent

FEHD_IR_EN202107

July 2021

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s handling of illegal extension of shops and fixed hawker pitches and accumulation of polyfoam boxes

FEHD_IR_EN202106

June 2021

Ineffective enforcement of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department against obstruction of passageways by a market stall

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June 2021

Education Bureau’s handling of a complaint about withdrawal from religious study

Lands_IR_EN202105

May 2021

Lands Department’s continual renewal of a short-term tenancy of a Government Land for dangerous goods storage

HAB_IR_EN202104

April 2021

Home Affairs Bureau’s arrangements for convening the NGO Forum on Community Development

LandsD_IR_EN202103

March 2021

Lands Department’s handling of a case of Government land occupation

FSD_LD_IR_EN202101

January 2021

Drawing up and publishing guidelines on dangerous goods vehicles by Fire Services Department and Labour Department

FEHD_LandsD_HyD_IR_EN202101

January 2021

Handling of on-pavement construction materials/demolition materials by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Lands Department and Highways Department

ImmD_IR_EN202012

December 2020

Immigration Department’s handling of a request by newspaper journalists for search of marriage record of two persons and to obtain a certified copy of their marriage certificate

FEHD_IR_EN202012

December 2020

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department failing to resolve obstruction problem caused by illegal extension of shops

FEHD_LandsD_IR_EN202009

September 2020

Regulating cages of carton recycler occupying public places by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and Lands Department

PO_IR_EN202007

July 2020

Conveyance of air mail by surface route by Post Office due to the coronavirus pandemic

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July 2020

Procedures of Food and Health Bureau and Development Bureau for engaging contractors to build a quarantine centre

ImmD_IR_EN202006

June 2020

Immigration Department’s handling of application for search of marriage records in Hong Kong and birth registration records by a newspaper journalist

AFCD_IR_EN202006

June 2020

Handling of wild pig nuisance by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department

TD_IR_EN202005

May 2020

Inadequacy in Transport Department's Procedures for Vehicle Particulars Certificate Applications

WSD_IR_EN202005

May 2020

Complaint against Water Supplies Department: An incident of anomaly in drinking water quality in a housing estate

CHO_AMO_DEVB_IR_EN202005

May 2020

Complaint against Development Bureau for failing to assume responsibility for preserving some heritage items

SWD_IR_EN202004

April 2020

Handling by Social Welfare Department of a complaint against a residential care home for the elderly

AFCD_IR_EN202004

April 2020

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s handling of a report on police officers’ alleged violation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance by sending a police dog to the scene where tear gas was used

AA_IR_EN202004_1

April 2020

Airport Authority's measures taken to safeguard passengers' safety

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April 2020

Airport Authority's airport management and contingency measures taken to safeguard interests of passengers

FHB,FEHD,LandsD,HyD_IR_EN202003

March 2020

Handling by Food and Health Bureau, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Lands Department and Highways Department of unauthorised display and affixing of bills and graffiti in public places

LandsD_IR_EN202003

March 2020

The handling by Lands Department of a short-term tenancy at nominal rent

FEHD,LandsD_IR_EN202003

March 2020

Complaint against Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and Lands Department about the handling of prolonged occupation of a bicycle parking space by a suitcase

HD_IR_EN202001

January 2020

Housing Department failing to inform complainant that some pipeworks of his flat were located at the flat below such that he had not requested related pre-sale maintenance before he purchased the flat under the Tenants Purchase Scheme

HD_IR_TC202001

January 2020

Housing Department issued Flat Selection Notification twice under different schemes

FEHD_IR_EN201912

December 2019

Complaint against Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for failing to properly handle the hygiene problem caused by roadside car washing activities of car washing shops

FEHD_IR_EN201911

November 2019

Mishandling query and request repeatedly by The Joint Office for Investigation of Water Seepage Complaints

CSD_IR_EN201911

November 2019

Correctional Services Department failed to use video-recording equipment to collect evidence when an inmate was suspected of violating discipline

HA_IR_EN201910

October 2019

Complaint against Hospital Authority about dispensing arrangements at St. John Hospital

FSD_IR_EN201909

September 2019

Complaint about blindly granting more time to mini-storage premises operators to abate fire hazards and failing to inform the public of those non-compliant mini-storage premises

DH, SWD_IR_EN201908

August 2019

Omission by Department of Health and Social Welfare Department to include persons with disabilities receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance as an eligible group under the Vaccination Schemes

AFCD,HA_IR_EN201907

July 2019

Complaint against Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and Hospital Authority for improper handling of a dog biting incident in which the complainant was injured

EDB_IR_EN201906

June 2019

Complaint against Education Bureau for delay in provision of hearing aid fitting services

AFCD_IR_EN201906

June 2019

Handling by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of a dog arriving in Hong Kong from Thailand

FSD_IR_EN201905

May 2019

Complaint about imposition of unreasonable requirements for compliance by the mini-storage industry

PO,RVD_IR_EN201904

April 2019

Complaints against the Post Office and Rating and Valuation Department for Discontinuation of Postal Service to an Address in a Village in the New Territories

TRAN_IR_EN201810

October 2018

Transport Department’s Improper Arrangement for Implementation of Two-way Toll Collection at the Lantau Link That Caused Serious Traffic Congestion

Annex_3_E-17_4_2018

April 2018

Handling of a Complaint by Highways Department and Labour Department about Inadequate Safety Measures for Lifting Operations in a Government Infrastructure Project

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November 2017

Handling of an Application for Housing Transfer by Social Welfare Department and Housing Department

Annex_2_E-19_12_2016_3

December 2016

Complaints against Buildings Department for Defective Follow-up Actions on Removal Orders

Annex_2_E-28_1_2016

January 2016

Handling of Food Safety Complaints by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department

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September 2015

Complaint against Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for Delay in Collecting Food Sample for Testing (Summary in Chinese version only)

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January 2015

Complaint against Airport Authority for Mishandling Enquiries about CCTV System

Annex_3_E-13_10_2014

October 2014

Water Supplies Department and Lands Department for refusal to take over and maintain waterworks in Government road areas

Annex_2_E-13_10_2014

October 2014

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s arrangements in allocating columbarium niches

Complaint against Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for Delay in Collecting Food Sample for Testing

October 2013

Complaint against Transport Department about Handling of Taxi Complaints

Cases on Code on Access to Information

The Ombudsman Ordinance gives us mandate to investigate matters concerning the performance of Government departments/public organisations under the Government’s Code on Access to Information (“Code”), including public complaints about their non-compliance with the Code.

 

By publishing these selected Code-related complaint cases that we have investigated, we hope the public can better understand their right to information kept by Government departments/public organisations. We also expect Government departments and public organisations to learn from these cases and avoid unreasonably refusing to disclose information. Our goal is to eventually develop these into a repository of reference materials on the subject of access to information.

Selected Cases

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September 2022

Planning Department refusing to provide assessment reports for a strategic study

May 2022

Education Bureau’s refusal to provide the number of dropouts and dropout rate of primary schools in Hong Kong

May 2022

Home Affairs Department, Transport and Housing Bureau and Lands Department being late in responding to a request

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March 2022

Transport Department’s handling of a media organisation’s enquiry about application procedures for Certificate of Particulars of Vehicle

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November 2021

FEHD refused to disclose the full report on the Site Selection Feasibility Study of the Tin Shui Wai public market

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September 2021

DEVB refused to disclose information about AMO’s grading of a structure

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September 2021

HKPF refused to provide copies of donation records of Police Welfare Fund (Case 1) and donation information of Police Children’s Education Trust and Police Education and Welfare Trust (Case 2)

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August 2021

CEDB’s handling of request for the list of members of the dedicated team for reviewing the governance and management of RTHK

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June 2021

DH refused to disclose the voting results and advice of its two Scientific Committees and Government’s Expert Advisory Panel on COVID-19 vaccine procurement by Government

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April 2021

HKPF refused to provide information about fixed penalty notices issued pursuant to two subsidiary regulations under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance

March 2021

REO failing to provide statistics on registered electors

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September 2020

GLD refused to provide information about distribution of Personal Protection Equipment between 2017 and 2019

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August 2020

SWD refused to provide the number of “places of agency quota” of a residential care home for the elderly

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August 2020

CSD refused to provide information about sale of its manufactured masks to non-governmental organisations between 2017 and 2019

July 2020

SB refused to disclose information regarding the written submissions received by the Government on the proposed amendments to the Mutual Legal Assistance Ordinance and the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

June 2020

HKPF refused to provide the costs and particulars of tear gas rounds procured between 2014 and 2019

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June 2020

HKPF's refusal to disclose the composition and brands of tear gas rounds used and coloured solution sprayed by specialised crowd management vehicles

May 2020

HKPF refused to provide headings of all chapters in Police General Orders

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March 2020

HKPF refused to provide the names and identification numbers of police officers engaged in certain operations

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March 2020

HKPF refused to provide information relating to procurement and disposal of tear gas rounds

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February 2020

DEVB refused to provide tenancy agreements for two revitalisation projects of historic buildings

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December 2019

JA refusing to provide information about the dates of taking the Judicial Oath for assuming office of three judges and names of the officers administering their oath

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November 2019

Complaint against BD for refusing to provide investigation reports and other relevant information about alleged defective waste water pipes on the complainant’s premises

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September 2019

Complaint of delay and excessive masking in providing a report on traffic and transport impact assessment

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August 2019

TD refused to provide the list of tenderers and selection result of operators of three new franchised bus routes

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May 2019

Complaint against OFCA for refusing to provide the service options menus of its telephone hotline voice system

March 2019

SWD refused to provide annual accounting inspections records of an elderly home

February 2019

TD refused to provide the Code of Practice for the examination of private cars and light goods vehicles at designated car testing centres

February 2019

Complaint against Lands Department for refusing to disclose the amounts of premium and administration fee paid by an applicant for change of land use who was granted a waiver in the form of a letter of no objection

January 2019

LCSD refused to provide the investigation report submitted by a sports association and the list of members of an investigation panel

December 2018

CSD failed to provide Mr A with various items of information related to his complaints against CSD in a timely manner

September 2018

ICAC refused to provide Mr B with documents related to his complaints against ICAC officers (“the Documents”)

July 2018

HAD refused to provide an unabridged version of the Model Rules for Rural Committee Elections and the Constitutions of all Rural Committees

July 2018

LandsD refused to provide squatter inspection records

June 2018

EPD refused to provide a breakdown of the cost of an outsourced project

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April 2018

SWD refused to provide Mr C with the manual on its Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (“CSSA”) Scheme (“CSSA Manual”) and had delay in responding to his information request

March 2018

LCSD refused to provide CCTV footage of a public library

January 2018

CSD refused to provide information on complaints about use of unnecessary force by officers of its correctional institutions

April 2017

REO refused to provide the complainant with statistics of the 2016 Legislative Council Election

March 2017

LCSD refused to disclose the full text of a deed that it had signed with a company on the management of a waterfront promenade

January 2017

HD refused to provide a tenant with rental information relating to other tenants in its factory estate

December 2016

Leisure and Cultural Services Department failed to provide tree inspection report

February 2016

Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau refused to provide records and details of the Government’s discourse with various political groups and Legislative Council Members on the 2015 political reform package

February 2016

Leisure and Cultural Services Department refused to release its tree inspection reports

November 2015

Lands Department refused to provide Mr A with the personal data of an individual who had expressed an opinion on the Department’s proposal

November 2015

Housing Department refused Mr A’s request for the management and maintenance records and CCTV footage of an estate shopping mall

October 2015

Correctional Services Department erased the names of health care personnel from the medical records provided to Mr A

September 2015

Marine Department refused to provide Mr A with the list of members of its Disciplinary Panel

August 2015

Government Property Agency refused Mr A’s request for the full investigation report regarding a noise nuisance complaint prepared by a property management company (“the Company”) engaged by Government Property Agency

February 2015

The Food and Health Bureau refused to provide information pertaining to its meeting in Chengdu with the State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on updating the list of pesticide residues in food under the relevant legislation

January 2015

The Narcotics Division refused to provide information regarding its opinion polls on the RESCUE Drug Testing Scheme

May 2014

The Education Bureau refused to disclose the days on which it had inspected the premises suspected to be used as an unlicensed tutorial centre

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December 2013

The Drainage Services Department refused to provide the investigation report on a road subsidence case