Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance

The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, in Hong Kong Law (Cap. 53), was enacted in 1976 to preserve the objects of historical, archaeological and palaeontological interest and for matters ancillary thereto or connected therewith. It is administered by the Secretary for Home Affairs (Antiquities and Monuments Office of Leisure and Cultural Services Department).

Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
CitationCap. 53
Enacted byLegislative Council of Hong Kong
Passed1 December1971
Commenced3 December 1971
Legislative history
Bill published on29 October 1971
Introduced bySecretary for Home Affairs Donald Collin Cumyn Luddington
First reading3 November 1971
Second reading17 November 1971
Third reading1 December 1971
Amended by
1974, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2012[1]
Status: Current legislation


Under the Ordinance, "Antiquities" are defined as "places, buildings, sites or structures erected, formed or built by human agency before the year 1800 and the ruins or remains of any such place, building, site or structure, whether or not the same has been modified, added to or restored after the year 1799" and "relics". The word, "relics" is defined as the movable objects made, shaped, painted, carved, inscribed, created, manufactured, produced or modified by human agency before the year 1800 or those have not been modified, added to or restored after the year 1799. Fossil remains or impressions are also considered as "relics" under the Ordinance.

Archaeological sites

All archaeological relics in Hong Kong are considered as properties of the Government under the Ordinance. This includes ancient architecture, kilns, hearths, rock carvings, farm lands, shell or refuse mounds and foot prints of ancient human beings.

The Antiquities Authority is empowered to regulate the search and excavation of all such relics through a system of licensing.

The most important sites are declared as Declared Monuments. These are defined under the Ordinance as any feature, structure, building and artefact which are considered important because of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance.

Over 180 sites are known as Sites of Specific Archaeological Interest (SSAI).


After consultation with the Board and with the approval of the Chief Executive, the Secretary for Development may, by notice in the Gazette, declare any place, building, site or structure, which he or she considers to be of public interest by reason of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance, to be a monument.

According to the Ordinance, any one without permits granted by the Secretary for Home Affairs, is not allowed to excavate, carry on building or other works, plant or fell trees or deposit earth or refuse on or in any proposed monuments or monuments; or demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with any proposed monuments or monuments.

Proposed monuments

Several historical building have been declared as proposed monuments for temporary statutory protection within a specified period.[2][3]

King Yin Lei, now being declared monument, was declared a "proposed monument" on September 15, 2007 due to the damage caused by the non-structural works. Jessville, now a Grade III historical building, was declared a "proposed monument" on April 20, 2007.[3]

See also


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