Skip to main content

2. What are my rights if I am being arrested?

First, you have a right to be informed by the police officer of the reason for arresting you. If the police officer fails to tell you the reason at the time of the arrest, the arrest is generally unlawful. If, however, you try to run away or the situation is such that it is impractical for the officer to tell you the reason, then the officer may inform you the reason at a later time after the arrest.


Secondly, you have a right to silence. Immediately after the arrest, the police must inform you of your right to remain silent. The police officer will caution you by saying, "You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but whatever you say will be put into writing and may be given in evidence." You may therefore choose whether or not to answer any questions posed by the police (except that you may need to provide your name and address to the police).


You should also note that under section 101A of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, any person effecting an arrest may use such force as is reasonable. What constitutes reasonable force depends on the circumstances. A police officer may, for example, employ handcuffs or other means of restraint where it is necessary to prevent escape. Section 50(2) of the Police Force Ordinance also allows the police officer to use all means necessary to effect an arrest if the suspect forcibly resists or attempts to evade the arrest.