The Companies Registry in Hong Kong has announced the launch of the first phase of the new inspection regime. The regime is designed to protect personal data from possible misuse, while also ensuring transparency and allowing the public to inspect the Companies Register for the purposes detailed under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622).
Under Phase 1 of the inspection, regime which commenced on 23 August 2021, companies are only required to make available for public inspection their own registers’ correspondence addresses of directors and partial identification numbers of directors and company secretaries. The changes apply to documents filed from the commencement of Phase 1.
The prior unrestricted public access to the residential addresses and full identification numbers of individual company officers filed with the Companies Registry has been removed. Such information is now only accessible upon application to the Companies Registry for different groups of authorities or persons as specified in the subsidiary legislation, for example, shareholders of a company, public officers, trustees in bankruptcy. Disclosure of such information by the Companies Registry is still however, permissible with a Court order.
Individuals whose information is already contained in documents filed with the Companies Registry prior to the commencement of the new inspection regime can apply to the Companies Registry to withhold such material from public inspection. The company may also withhold the information contained in its own documents from public inspection.
Phase 2 is expected to launch on 24 October 2022, and Phase 3 on 27 December 2023.
In Phase 2, protected information will only be made accessible upon the application to the Companies Registry by specified persons subject to permission with an order of the Court.
Phase 3, will grant individuals whose protected information was already filed before the commencement of the new regime, with the option of applying to the Company Registry for protection from public inspection by replacing existing details with correspondence addresses and partial identification numbers.
This information is provided for reference only. For more information please email our office at email@example.com.