HK Companies Registry – Protection of Personal Information

In the Circular issued by the Hong Kong Companies Registry on 16 August 2021, in order to strengthen the protection of personal information, in case the director or company secretary who is a natural person, he or she may choose not to disclose the Hong Kong ID (or passport) or residential address.

There will three phases to implement this new measures:

Phase 1 23 August 2021
Phase 2 24 October 2022
Phase 3 27 December 2023

After 23 August 2021 (i.e. Phase I), if you choose not to withhold disclosure of your Hong Kong ID, you will only need to include the first four letters of the Hong Kong ID or Passport. If you choose to withhold disclosure of your residential address, you may enter the registered address of the company it relates to director or company secretary.

However, as a condition for this new measure, the information must be strictly managed by the corporation, so it may be possible for police authorities to enter the subject of a money laundering investigation in the future. In addition, we cannot deny the possibility that an on-site inspection will be conducted on the corporation in order to confirm that it is being properly stored in the future.

When Phase 2 commences, it is possible to reserve the information itself instead of retaining the information. Instead, the legal entity will submit the information to the Companies Registry.

When Phase 3 starts, the owner of personal information can withhold disclosure by notifying the Companies Registry.

However, it is not clear how will financial institutions may verify their identities when information disclosure is withheld. Principals, agents, shareholders, trustees (bankrupt companies), investigative authorities, lawyers, certified accountants, and financial institutions can access the information by applying to the Companies Registry.

Notwithstanding the above, the names and addresses of shareholders will be stated in the annual report NAR1).