A. Brief introduction of bankruptcy proceedings
When debtors fail to repay their debts and the Court has granted bankruptcy orders against them, the debtors’ assets are collected and realised (sold and converted to cash) by a neutral person (known as the “Trustee”). This Trustee can be the Official Receiver of the Official Receiver’s Office or a professional appointed by the creditors or the Official Receiver. The proceeds from the realisation, after deducting certain costs and expenses, are then distributed to the creditors (persons who are owed money by the debtors) for repaying the relevant debts or part of the relevant debts.
During the effective period of the bankruptcy order, part of the debtor’s earnings may be utilised for repayment. The Trustee also investigates the causes of bankruptcy and the Court may punish the bankrupt if any provision in the Bankruptcy Ordinance (Cap. 6 of the Laws of Hong Kong) has been breached.
The debtor in bankruptcy proceedings can be an individual person or the partners of a partnership, but not limited companies. When the bankruptcy order is discharged, the debtor is free from the monetary liabilities that were incurred before bankrupt.
Generally speaking, a bankruptcy case commenced by a creditor will undergo the following stages:
Issuing a statutory demand for debt repayment to the debtor by a creditor (if applicable)
Presenting a bankruptcy petition to the Court, and sending it to the Official Receiver's Office and to the debtor
Granting of bankruptcy order by the Court
The debtor's assets are collected and realised by the Trustee/Official Receiver
Distributing the relevant proceeds and part of the debtor's income to the creditors
Discharge of bankruptcy order