Antiquities Authority at the moment is the Secretary for Development and may declare a place, building, site or structure (by reasons of its historical significance) a monument, under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53).
The Commissioner for Heritage's Office (CHO) was set up on 25 April 2008 under the Development Bureau to provide dedicated support to Secretary for Development in implementing the policy on heritage conservation and keeping it under constant review, taking forward a series of new initiatives on heritage conservation and serving as a focal point of contact, both locally and overseas.
The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap.53) was enforced in 1976 to ensure that the best examples of Hong Kong's heritage are protected appropriately. If you wish to obtain more information on the Ordinance, please click here to enter the Hong Kong e-Legislation maintained by the Department of Justice.
Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) was established when the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap.53) was enforced in 1976. AMO, which provides secretarial and executive support to the Board in conserving places of historical and archaeological interest, is the executive arm of the Antiquities Authority.
The Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) was established when the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap.53) was enforced in 1976. AAB is a statutory body consisting of members with expertise in various relevant fields. AAB was set up to advise the Antiquities Authority on any matters relating to antiquities and monuments.
Heritage conservation in Hong Kong is building-centred. The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance is the only piece of legislation directly related to heritage conservation and only declared or proposed monuments, meaning ‘a place, building, site or structure which is declared to be a monument, historical building or archaeological or palaeontological site or structure’ (Article 2), will be protected by law. Yet only those with “high threshold” and “indisputable heritage significance” will be declared as monuments. Indeed, even graded historic buildings are just for internal reference and provides no statutory protection.
Grade 1: Buildings of outstanding merit, which every effort should be made to preserve if possible
Grade 2: Buildings of special merit; efforts should be made to selectively preserve
Grade 3: Buildings of some merit; preservation in some form would be desirable and alternative means could be considered if preservation is not practicable
Since the establishment of CHO in 2008, a package of initiatives for heritage conservation has been implemented following the recommendations summarised by AAB in 2014 and what CHO has done include the following:
Conducting heritage impact assessment for new capital works projects since the issuing of the Technical Circular (Works) No. 6/2009 "Heritage Impact Assessment Mechanism for Capital Works Projects".
Implementing the Revitalising Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme for Government-owned historic buildings since 2008.
Taking forward heritage conservation and revitalisation such as The Central Police Station (2007-2018) and the Former Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road (2010-2014).
Providing economic incentives for preservation of privately-owned historic buildings on a case-by-case basis, e.g. King Yin Lei.
Facilitating the maintenance of privately-owned graded historic buildings, e.g. Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme on Built Heritage since 2008.
Setting up the Built Heritage Conservation Fund in 2016 to provide funding for public education and publicity activities, academic researches, public engagement and consultation programmes since 2017.
The building-based approach does not offer protection to site-based heritage
The grading of historic building does not provide legal protection
The building-based documentation system seems to over-emphasise the tangible physical aspects but neglect the social dimensions
Hong Kong does not have a single entity possessing a mandate for all aspects of heritage conservation
The funding opportunities for organising activities are enough but funding sources for repair and maintenance of individual buildings are limited and restrictive
Values of industrial heritage sites might be neglected by the wider public? See the results of our survey here.