4. Soliciting for an immoral purpose
It is an offence contrary to section 147 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) to solicit in a public place or in the view of the public for an immoral purpose or to loiter in a public place for the purposes of soliciting for an immoral purpose.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months.
A “public place” is:
(a) any place to which for the time being the public or a section of the public are entitled or permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise; and
(b) a common part of any premises notwithstanding that the public or section of the public are not entitled or permitted to have access to that common part or those premises.
The most straightforward example of soliciting for an immoral purpose in a public place is the prostitute who approaches persons in the street and offers sexual services in return for payment. Other, more sophisticated soliciting may involve advertisement on the internet. The common factor is the active offering of sexual services in return for payment, giving the word “solicit” its usual meaning of asking for something. What is asked for is money, what is offered in return is sexual activity.
The standard for “immoral purpose” is the contemporary standard of morality. Soliciting for prostitution in a public place is soliciting for an immoral purpose. The words “immoral purpose” cover such acts as buggery and acts of gross indecency as well as sexual intercourse, all of which have already been discussed.