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Is Hong Kong Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Is Hong Kong Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Hong Kong is a beautiful city with different attractions for all tourists. You can start by shopping within the city’s capital and visiting other sites outside the metropolis.

The nightlife festivals in Hong Kong are also a must-see, especially if you’re visiting the city for the first time. Even though there are some fantastic places to check out and sights to see, is Hong Kong safe to visit?

Researching the area is key to learn if Hong Kong is a safe spot to go as a tourist and what concerns should be on your list. Keep reading to learn some travel security tips before visiting Hong Kong! 

Is Hong Kong Safe to Visit?

Golden Pagoda in Nan Lian Garden with walkway leading up for a piece on Is Hong Kong Safe

pickbiz/Shutterstock

It’s generally safe to visit Hong Kong, even for solo travelers. The government has enacted various measures to ensure that citizens and foreigners are safe in the city.

You don’t have anything to fear when visiting Hong Kong, provided you’re vigilant about your safety as you would be anywhere.

No city is 100% safe and Hong Kong is no exception. Even though crime is low in the city, you should take care of your belongings because pickpocketing is common. You must also avoid some areas and neighborhoods with a high crime rate.

Additionally, you should be keen on food safety while in Hong Kong. You shouldn’t eat in any stall or restaurant since not all areas are ideal for eating.

Ultimately, Hong Kong is a safe place to visit, but you should be responsible for your safety to avoid getting hurt or sick during your visit.

Crime in Hong Kong

Crime is low in Hong Kong, but you must take precautions when visiting. The overall crime rate in 2021 was 38.5%. That’s a slight increase from 2020 when the crime rate was 37.8%.

From January to September 2022, there have been 49,927 incidences of crime in Hong Kong. This is a 4.4% increase in crime from the reported crimes in 2021. 

Based on the 2022 crime statistics in Hong Kong, examples of crimes in the city are listed below. 

  • Deception (19,444 cases)
  • All thefts (13,150 cases)
  • Violent crime (6,465 cases)
  • Criminal damage (3,804 cases)
  • Wounding and serious assault (2,625 cases)

Ultimately, based on these statistics, deception (scams and fraud) and theft are the most common crimes you should be worried about when visiting Hong Kong.

Since there is considerable crime in Hong Kong, you must take various precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Let’s discuss some of these preventive measures.

  • Avoid demonstrations. Be cautious in large gatherings and avoid demonstrations. These are the areas where pickpocketing is rampant. If you are in a large group, the best solution is to be aware of your surroundings. For instance, ensure your bags are well zipped and spread your money in different pockets to avoid losing it all at once.
  • Beware of scams. Deception in the form of scams and fraud is a common crime in Hong Kong. Strangers may approach you asking to exchange your currency. The best way to avoid deception in Hong Kong is to exchange your currency from banks and other exchange shops.
  • Don’t walk alone. Avoid walking alone while in Hong Kong, especially if you’re visiting the city with your friends. However, for solo travelers, follow these tips when walking alone. Don’t use your phone while walking and stay aware of your surroundings. 
  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Street thieves are common in Hong Kong and they use various techniques to steal your items. Some will even look at your bag to see if it’s poorly zipped. Keep your bags close and ensure they’re all tightly zipped. Ensure your wallet is well-pocketed when walking in the city. It’s better to leave your wallet and carry a little cash when walking at night.  
  • Avoid clothes that indicate you’re a tourist. Most criminals in Hong Kong usually target tourists because they aren’t familiar with the area. Try to blend in when visiting Hong Kong to avoid being a target. Some of the ways you can blend in include wearing clothes that don’t indicate you are on an expedition or wearing casual clothes that fit Hong Kong’s current season.

Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods  

Blurred background image of a popular market for tourists and locals for a piece on Is Hong Kong Safe

umpo/Shutterstock

Even though Hong Kong is safe, there are still bad neighborhoods with higher crime rates in certain areas. These are the zones you’ll want to avoid as a tourist to stay safe. 

For instance, the Kowloon area is densely populated in Hong Kong since this is the place most people live. However, avoid this neighborhood when visiting Hong Kong because there are high cases of pickpocketing and other crimes.

Most notably, avoid the tunnels between the Kun Tong line and the East Rail line in the Kowloon district since they may be unsafe, especially at night. 

You can take various precautions to avoid the bad neighborhoods in Hong Kong. Here are some of the most effective. 

  • Do your research. An excellent way to start is checking the government’s website to know which neighborhoods have a high crime rate in Hong Kong. This will give you an idea of the areas to avoid during your stay. You can even book hotels far from these neighborhoods to avoid walking at night in these areas. 
  • Ask the locals. Hong Kong residents know the most unsafe neighborhoods in the city. The best way to avoid these areas is to ask them. However, don’t ask a stranger in the city because they may mislead you. The best solution is to ask a police officer or a local guard. You can also ask the workers in the hotel you are staying.
  • Consult a travel agency. You can consult a travel agency before visiting a specific area. These companies will advise you on the neighborhoods you can visit and the ones to avoid. You can also hire them for your visit. These travel agencies can help ensure you enjoy your Hong Kong visit safely. 

Food Safety in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a fantastic city because most restaurants sell cuisines from different countries. You may even find your favorite local dish in one of the restaurants here! You can always find a taste of home in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong has a food safety code to ensure the locals and visitors are safe when dining here. Their food safety code includes the following criteria for food workers. 

  • Clean. Ensure you clean all utensils before cooking and your hands before eating.
  • Cook. You should cook your food thoroughly to ensure it’s safe to eat.
  • Safe temperature. You should store food at the right temperature to prevent it from rotting.
  • Separate. Separate the raw materials from the cooked food before eating or cooking.
  • Choose. Choose the right raw materials for cooking when shopping in Hong Kong.

These safety codes are applicable tips if you’re visiting for a few days and prefer cooking your own meals.

However, food safety in Hong Kong isn’t 100% guaranteed if you eat in restaurants and cafés. Check out the tips below to reduce your risk of food-borne illness while visiting Hong Kong. 

  • Don’t drink tap water. It isn’t safe to drink tap water in Hong Kong and even the locals don’t do it. Boil the tap water before drinking if you’ve rented a house in the city for your stay in Hong Kong. If you eat in a restaurant, ask for boiled or bottled water. Avoid ice cubes from tap water since they may be contaminated. The best solution is to take hot coffee and tea, pasteurized milk, and carbonated drinks, which are available for visitors.
  • Don’t eat uncooked food. Avoid uncooked foods, such as salads and appetizers, while in Hong Kong. These foods may cause diarrhea and other diseases that will negatively affect your trip. The rule of thumb in Hong Kong is to stick to boiled and hot-cooked foods, pasteurized dairy products, and well-cooked eggs.
  • Stick to restaurants with large crowds. While large crowds can be frustrating, it’s the best way to ensure food safety. Most of these restaurants are overpopulated because the residents like their food and believe it’s hygienic. Another reason a restaurant may be overpopulated is that it has the best service, which you should always consider when looking for a place to eat. Ultimately, a restaurant with fewer clients is a red flag.
  • Avoid street food. Don’t eat from the street food shops, even if the food is appealing. You should always avoid them even if you see many local citizens lining up for food. Foods from these stores aren’t ideal for tourists’ stomachs and you may have health issues after eating.

Things to Consider

Sunset over Victoria Bay in Hong Kong depicting an overall safe city for tourists

Rad Radu/Shutterstock

Even though Hong Kong is a safe place to visit, there are various things you must do or avoid when traveling alone or with your family to ensure personal safety. Keep these tips in mind to have the safest visit! 

  • Notify your loved ones before visiting. When traveling to a foreign country, you should inform your loved ones about where you are staying. That’s especially true if you’re traveling alone. It makes it easy for them to track you if you get lost or don’t arrive home when planned.
  • Spread your cash out. Pickpocketing is common in Hong Kong, and you may lose all your money if you put it in one pocket. The best solution is to spread your cash into different pockets or bags. You can also pay using a credit card where necessary.
  • Dress responsibly. For the ladies, don’t wear revealing clothes. It violates Hong Kong’s culture as most residents are modest. You should also avoid wearing all-black clothes since they are associated with gangs in Hong Kong.
  • Research lodgings before booking. Conduct thorough research on the accommodations you’re considering to ensure they meet your standards. Another thing to consider is the lodging’s location as it shouldn’t be far from the areas you are visiting.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Remember you are in a foreign place with many strangers. Don’t take free drinks from the locals as they could be spiked before being delivered to you. Watch your bartender make your drink and ensure no one else accesses it before you take it. 
  • Stick to busy spots when traveling in the dark. Don’t walk in areas without sufficient lighting at night to avoid being mugged. If there aren’t many people out, it’s wise to return at a busier time of day to explore the area. 
  • Be friendly but cautious. Don’t reveal much personal information when talking to the locals. Not everyone is friendly in Hong Kong and scam artists try to be friendly with tourists to get information or distract you while stealing from you. 
  • Avoid taking drugs. Don’t take illegal drugs in Hong Kong. Not only will buying and using drugs reduce your personal safety, you’ll also be breaking local laws that could land you in jail. If you choose to drink alcohol, don’t over-imbibe. 
  • Talk to the locals when necessary. Engage the locals to know the best places to buy food or take drinks. Your hotel’s staff and restaurant workers are excellent sources of reliable information in most cases. 

Frequently Asked Questions

People walking on Causeway Bay for a frequently asked questions section on Is Hong Kong Safe

Street view of people walking on the Causeway bay in Hong Kong on November 14, 2019/Finn stock/Shutterstock

You probably have a few more questions about whether or not Hong Kong is truly safe to visit. Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers so you can learn more about coming to Hong Kong! 

Is Hong Kong welcoming foreigners now?

In May 2022, Hong Kong minimized its restrictions on allowing foreigners to visit the country. However, those visiting Hong Kong must have the COVID-19 vaccination and have the records to prove it.

The government will give those without the records a QR code on arrival for their LeaveHomeSafe application to ensure they get the vaccine and the right records.

What should you avoid wearing when visiting Hong Kong?

You shouldn’t wear revealing clothing or see-through clothing when visiting Hong Kong. The citizens in Hong Kong are modest and traditional. Wearing such clothes may be disrespectful to the locals. 

You should also avoid wearing all-black or all-white garments. Most people in Hong Kong associate them with gangs and you may be mistaken as part of a gang.

Is it safe for someone to explore Hong Kong at night?

Yes, it is safe for someone to explore Hong Kong at night, even solo tourists. However, you should take various precautions when exploring to avoid getting lost. 

You should also take care of your items and avoid secluded and dark areas. Don’t get distracted by your phone or the sights when traveling at night, with a group or alone. 

Is one required to quarantine in Hong Kong?

Those traveling to Hong Kong may quarantine depending on their COVID-19 test results. Once you arrive at the Hong Kong airport, you must be tested for COVID-19, especially those without vaccination records.

You won’t have to wait for the results at the airport. Once the results are out, you may quarantine in your hotel until you recover.

Is Hong Kong a friendly place to visit?

Yes, Hong Kong is a friendly place to visit. The citizens are welcoming and are willing to share their rich culture with the visitors.

If you plan to live here permanently, you will get many work opportunities in advertising, finance, and tech companies. If you’re just visiting, you’ll find out that locals are quite friendly to tourists! 

So, Is Hong Kong Safe to Visit?

Hong Kong is a safe place to visit overall. As a first-time visitor, you will experience many new things in the city, and the nightlife is unique.

However, you should take a few precautions to ensure you’re safe. Don’t join demonstrations, make sure to eat at popular places and avoid undercooked food, and steer clear of seedy neighborhoods where crime and drugs are rampant. 

For most tourists, following these tips is simple and lines right up with the things they’ve planned to do in Hong Kong. Stick to the most populated and busy areas – especially at night – and you’ll be just fine. 

Ultimately, don’t hesitate to visit Hong Kong! If you follow these tips, you’ll reduce your chances of being the victim of a crime and enjoy a safe stay.