MORE than 30 inspectors have been hired by the government to stop alcohol from being sold to anyone below 18 years from 30 November.
Passed by the Legislative Council in February, a new law restricts the sale of alcoholic beverages containing more than 1.2 percent of ethyl alcohol by volume to underaged persons.
Previously the ban applied only to licensed premises such as bars, restaurants and clubs. Now it extends to all retail businesses, as well as online sales, telephone sales and vending machines. The ban also covers alcoholic beverages sold or supplied for commercial purposes in fairs, celebratory events and exhibitions, including free samples.
Under the new law, an offender is liable to a maximum fine of HK$50,000. The law, however, does not ban minors from drinking altogether. As long as no business transaction is involved, adults will not breach the law if they pass drinks to teenagers at family dinners or other social events.
The Department of Health’s Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office (控煙酒辦公室) will perform compliance checks and conduct investigations in response to intelligence and complaints. The new recruits will bring the department’s strength to about 120 inspectors.
Both store owners and employees should ask to inspect a buyer’s proof of identity if they have any doubts, and can refuse to sell if a customer’s age cannot be verified.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 22 November 2018)
Department of Health – Alcohol consumption
Alcohol use among young people