Dishonesty Offences

Overview

Theft and more generally dishonesty offences primarily relate to situations where a person appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. This type of offences covers a wide range of circumstances from a basic shoplifting to more serious crime like demanding money with menaces. It is sometimes challenging to figure out which offence applies depending on the facts surrounding of a given case. Therefore, we have prepared below a little overview of the most common dishonesty offences that we come across on a day-to-day basis.

Theft

Contrary to Section 9 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

Theft is defined as the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another person with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it. It should be noted that it is immaterial to take into consideration whether the property was taken with a view to gain, or is made for the thief’s own benefit.

Example: shoplifting a pack of gum in a supermarket

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 10 years

Robbery

Contrary to Section 10 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

Robbery is defined as stealing (as defined under section 9 of the Theft Ordinance), and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, using force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.

Example: a snatch and run

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for life.

Burglary

Contrary to Section 11 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

Burglary is defined as a person entering a building (or part of a building) as a trespasser with the intent of (i) stealing anything inside the building, (ii) inflicting grievous bodily harm on any person therein, (iii) raping any woman therein or (iv) intending to do any unlawful damage to the building or anything therein.

A person can also be charged with burglary if he entered a building (or any part of a building) as a trespasser stole or attempted to steal anything inside the building (or the part of a building) or inflicted or attempted to inflict grievous bodily harm on any person therein.

Example:

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 14 years

Obtaining Property by Deception

Contrary to Section 17 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

The offence of obtaining property by deception is committed when a person dishonestly obtains property belonging to another person with the intention of permanently depriving that person. The offence involves persuading someone to hand over property by lying about their intentions.

Example: a person using a stolen credit card to buy goods

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 10 years

Obtaining Services by Deception

Contrary to Section 18A of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

Very similar to the offence of obtain property by deception above.
 
Example: a person using a stolen credit card to buy services

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 10 years

Making Off Without Payment

Contrary to Section 18C of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

The offence of making off without payment is committed when a person leaves a place of supply without paying for goods or services received and dishonestly intends to avoid payment. 

Examples: leaving a restaurant without paying (aka dine and dash), leaving a taxi without paying the fare

Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 3 years

Blackmail

Contrary to Section 23 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

Blackmail is making an unwarranted demand or threat with the intention of gaining a benefit or causing loss to another person. A demand with threats is unwarranted unless the person making the demand believes they have reasonable grounds for making it and that using threats is an acceptable way to reinforce their position.

Example: sextortion
Maximum Sentence: imprisonment for 14 years

Handling Stolen Goods

Contrary to Section 24 of the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210)

A person handles stolen goods if, knowing or believing them to be stolen, he/she dishonestly receives the goods, or dishonestly undertakes or assists in their retention, removal, disposal or realization by or for the benefit of another person.

Example:
Maximum Sentence:imprisonment for 14 years

Contact Us

If you need urgent legal advice on a criminal matter (including if you or a loved one has been arrested), please contact our Mr. Francis Comtois by telephone or WhatsApp on +852 9547 5353.

We are able to assist our clients by doing:

  • legal visits if they are under investigation or detained at a police station;
  • bail applications;
  • plea bargaining with the police or the Department of Justice;
  • bind over application;
  • mitigation for sentence;
  • criminal trials in court; and
  • appeals.

If you wish to discuss your case with us, please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.

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