A Complete Guide to the Legal Drinking Age in Hong Kong

by Sophia

A Complete Guide to the Legal Drinking Age in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city that offers many attractions, entertainment, and nightlife options for locals and visitors alike. Whether looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a cultural tour of the museums and temples, or a fun night out at the bars and clubs, Hong Kong has something for everyone.

But if you are planning to enjoy some alcoholic drinks in Hong Kong, you should also be aware of the laws and regulations that govern alcohol consumption in this city. In this blog post, we will answer some of the most common questions that people have about the legal drinking age in Hong Kong.

The legal drinking age in Hong Kong is 18 years old, similar to most other common law countries around the world (except the U.S.), as Hong Kong was a former British colony until 1997. This means that anyone who is 18 or older can legally buy and drink alcohol in Hong Kong without any restrictions or limitations. You can choose from various alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, liquor, or cocktails, and enjoy them in different settings, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, or clubs.

However, just because you can drink legally in Hong Kong doesn’t mean you should drink irresponsibly or excessively. You should always be aware of the risks and consequences of drinking alcohol, especially in a foreign country. You should also respect the laws and regulations that govern alcohol consumption in Hong Kong and avoid getting into trouble with the authorities or the locals.

Can 16-year-olds Drink in Hong Kong?

The short answer is no. As stated above, the legal drinking age in Hong Kong is 18, and anyone who is under 18 is considered a minor and cannot legally drink alcohol in this country.

The reality is that many 16-year-olds do drink in Hong Kong, either with their friends, their parents, or their older siblings. This is because the law is not very well enforced, and there is a lack of awareness and education about the harms of underage drinking.

Some parents in Hong Kong may even allow or encourage their 16-year-old children to drink alcohol as a way of introducing them to the social and cultural aspects of drinking. They may think that drinking alcohol is a normal and harmless part of growing up and that it can help teenagers relax and have fun.

This is a dangerous misconception, as drinking alcohol at a young age can have serious adverse effects on the physical, mental, and emotional development of adolescents. According to the World Health Organization, drinking alcohol can interfere with brain development, impair memory and learning, increase the risk of injuries and accidents, and lead to alcohol dependence and addiction.

If you are 16 and want to drink in Hong Kong, think twice. You are not only breaking the law but also putting yourself and others at risk. If you are a parent of a 16-year-old who wants to drink in Hong Kong, you should discourage them from doing so and educate them about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.

What are the Hong Kong Alcohol Laws?

Besides the legal drinking age, some other laws and regulations govern alcohol consumption in Hong Kong. Here are some of the most important ones that you should know:

  1. It is illegal to sell alcohol to minors, and anyone who does so can face a fine of up to 50,000 HKD or imprisonment of up to six years.
  2. It is illegal for minors to consume alcohol in public places, such as streets, parks, beaches, or sidewalks. If caught, they can be fined up to 10,000 HKD or detained by the police.
  3. It is illegal to drink and drive in Hong Kong, and anyone who exceeds the blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.05% can be fined, lose their license, or go to jail. The penalties vary depending on the level of intoxication and the severity of the offense.
  4. It is illegal to drink in public places during certain religious holidays, such as Easter or Christmas Eve. This is known as the “dry law,” and the local municipalities enforce it. The dates and hours of the dry law may vary depending on the location, so it is advisable to check before you travel.

These laws and regulations are designed to protect the health and safety of the people and the environment and preserve the country’s social and cultural values. Therefore, you should respect and follow them and avoid any actions that could cause harm or offense to yourself or others.

Flag of Hong Kong - Wikipedia

Can you Drink on Beaches in Hong Kong?

One of the main attractions of Hong Kong is its beautiful beaches, where you can relax, swim, surf, or enjoy the sun. But can you drink on the beaches of Hong Kong?

Technically, no. According to the law, drinking alcohol on the beaches of Hong Kong is prohibited, as they are considered public places. However, this law is rarely enforced, and many locals and tourists drink on the beaches without problems.

This does not mean you can drink on Hong Kong’s beaches without care or respect. You should always be mindful of your surroundings and avoid drinking excessively, causing a disturbance, or littering. You should also be aware that consuming on the beach can expose you to the risk of dehydration, sunburn, or theft.

If you want to drink on the beaches of Hong Kong, you should do so responsibly, moderately, and discreetly. You should also follow the local customs and norms and respect the authorities and the environment.

What time can I buy Alcohol in Hong Kong?

If you want to buy alcohol in Hong Kong, you have plenty of options. You can purchase alcohol from liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or duty-free shops at the airport. You can also order alcohol from bars, restaurants, or delivery services.

You should also know the time restrictions for alcohol sales in Hong Kong. Depending on the location and the type of establishment, there may be different hours and days when you can buy alcohol in Hong Kong.

For example, in Central, the business district of Hong Kong, you can buy alcohol from liquor stores from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. You can buy alcohol from supermarkets and convenience stores from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. You can buy alcohol from bars and restaurants from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. from Friday to Sunday.

These hours may vary depending on the municipality, the season, or the holiday. For example, some municipalities may extend or reduce the hours of alcohol sales during peak tourist seasons or special events. Some municipalities may also implement the dry law during certain religious holidays, such as Easter or Christmas Eve, and ban the sale of alcohol altogether.

If you want to buy alcohol in Hong Kong, you should check the local regulations and schedules before you do so. You should also plan and stock up on alcohol if you want to avoid running out of it during the restricted hours or days.

How do you ask for a Beer in Hong Kong?

If you want to order a beer in Hong Kong, you should know some basic Cantonese phrases and words to help you communicate with the staff and the locals. Here are some of the most common and useful ones:

  • Yat bun beih jau, m’goi. (One beer, please.)
  • Leih yau mat yeung beih jau? (What kind of beer do you have?)
  • Beih jau gei do chin? (How much is the beer?)
  • Ngo yiu yat bun Moonzen/Young Master/Carbon Brews. (I want a Moonzen/Young Master/Carbon Brews beer.)
  • Lei ho yi bei ngo yat bun leng beih jau? (Can you bring me a cold beer?)
  • Lei ho yi bei ngo yat goh ling mui? (Can you get me a lime?)
  • Gam bei! (Cheers!)

Conclusion

Hong Kong is a beautiful country to visit, and drinking alcohol can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy your vacation. However, you should also be aware of the legal drinking age and the other laws and regulations that govern alcohol consumption in Hong Kong. You should also drink responsibly and respectfully and avoid any problems or conflicts that could ruin your trip. By doing so, you will have a memorable and safe experience in Hong Kong and appreciate its beauty and culture even more.

FAQs

Q: What is the legal drinking age in HK?

A: The legal drinking age in Hong Kong is 18 years old, which is similar to most other common law countries around the world (except the U.S.), as HK was a former British colony until 1997.

Q: Can 16-year-olds drink in HK?

A: No, 16-year-olds cannot drink legally in HK, as they are considered minors and are subject to the law that prohibits underage drinking.

Q: What are the penalties for underage drinking in HK?

A: The penalties for underage drinking in Hong Kong may include fines, detention, or legal action, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the penalties for selling alcohol to minors in HK?

A: The penalties for selling alcohol to minors in Hong Kong may include fines, imprisonment, or license suspension, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the penalties for drinking and driving in HK?

A: The penalties for drinking and driving in Hong Kong may include fines, license suspension, or jail time, depending on the level of intoxication and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the dry laws in HK?

A: The dry laws are the regulations that ban or limit the sale and consumption of alcohol in public places during certain religious holidays, such as Easter or Christmas Eve.

Q: When and where do the dry laws apply in HK?

A: The dry laws may vary depending on the location and the date, as the local municipalities enforce them. It is advisable to check the local regulations and schedules before traveling or buying alcohol in Hong Kong.

Q: Can you drink on the beaches in HK?

A: Technically, no, as the beaches are considered public places, and drinking alcohol in public places is prohibited by law. However, this law is rarely enforced, and many locals and tourists drink on the beaches without problems.

Q: How do you buy alcohol in HK?

A: You can buy alcohol from liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or duty-free shops at the airport. You can also order alcohol from bars, restaurants, or delivery services.

Q: How do you order a beer in HK?

A: You can order a beer in Hong Kong by using some basic Cantonese phrases and words, such as “yat bun beih jau, m’goi” (one beer, please), or “ngo yiu yat bun Moonzen/Young Master/Carbon Brews” (I want a Moonzen/Young Master/Carbon Brews beer). You can also use gestures and point to the menu or the bottle to indicate what beer you want.

Sophia

Sophia writes for Adam Magazine. She likes to learn and write about age. She tells stories about people, animals, and laws related to age. She wants to make the readers of Adam Magazine happy and interested.