For information
on 18 September 1997

Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Security

Overcrowdedness in Penal Institutions


This paper informs Members of the latest position on overcrowding in penal institutions in the territory and the progress of the actions we have been taking to address the problem.


2. As at 5 September 1997, the overall rate of overcrowding in penal institutions was 13%, compared to an average rate of 30% in 1996. The improvements are due in part to the additional capacity provided by the new Chi Ma Wan Drug Addiction Treatment Centre and Lo Wu Correctional Institution. However, the problem remains serious in prisons, where average occupancy exceeds certified capacity by about 21%. A summary of our penal institutions�occupancy rates is at Annex A.

Progress of measures to increase penal capacity Redevelopment Projects

3. We have been taking steps in the past few years to address the problem of overcrowding, mainly through redevelopment of existing penal institutions. A number of redevelopment projects to provide additional penal places have recently been completed or are under way. Taken together, the projects are expected to provide over 1 400 additional penal places. Details of the projects are summarized at Annex B.

4. We are also considering a proposal to expand the capacity of Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, which is one of the most crowded institutions, with an overcrowding rate of 35%.

New prison facilities

5. Since a significant shortfall of penal places remains, we need to build new prison facilities to provide long-term relief. We have identified a site at Yam O in North Lantau as a suitable location for a new prison complex with capacity for up to 1 200 inmates. We have completed the consultations with the Tsuen Wan and the Islands District Boards. The proposal is now going through the Town Planning Board process. If everything goes smoothly, we expect to be able to start construction in 2000 and anticipate completion in 2003.

6. Meanwhile, we are continuing to explore other possibilities for additional penal accommodation.

Security Bureau
September 1997

Annex A

Occupancy of Penal Institutions
(as at 5 September 1997)

PrisonsPopulationCertified Accommodation OccupancyRate (%)
Chimawan Correctional Institution476364 131
Hei Ling Chau Correctional Institution690532130
Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre1 293960135
Lai Sun Correctional Institution259 326 79
Lo Wu Correctional Institution139208 67
Ma Hang Prison198180110
Ma Po Ping Prison660650102
Pik Uk Correctional Institution 422385110
Pik Uk Prison606600101
Shek Pik Prison717450159
Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre23927089
Stanley Prison1 937 1 464132
Tai Lam Centre for Women575278207
Tai Lam Correctional Institution636590108
Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution182160114
Tong Fuk Centre32135092
Tung Tau Correctional Institution444300148
Victoria Prison479438109
All Prisons10 2738 505121
Drug addiction treatment centres
Chimawan Treatment Centre15125060
Hei Ling Chau Addiction
Treatment Centre
(Main) (Annex)
Training centres
Cape Collinson Correctional
175230 76
Lai King Training Centre199260 77
Detention Centre
Sha Tsui Detention Centre 11816472

Annex B

Redevelopment Projects to Increase Penal Capacity
Project Number of new penal places Progress to date Completion date
conversion of the former Chimawan (Lower) Detention Centre into a drug addiction treatment centre for female inmates 250 completed December 1996
conversion of the ex-military camp in Lo Wu into a minimum security prison 208 completed August 1997
redevelopment of the Stanley Prison area to provide (1) additional accommodation in Stanley Prison, (2) a new annex to Tung Tau Correctional Institution and (3) a new medium security prison 775works progressing on schedule new annex to Tung Tau Correctional Institution for 200 penal places expected to be completed by the end of 1997; remainder of the redevelopment project expected to be completed in 1999
redevelopment of Tai Lam Correctional Institution 260proposal being processed in Public Works Programme2000
(earliest possible)

Last Updated on 24 October 1997