Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau proposed to implement a new inspection regime for the Companies Register to restrict access to certain information about directors maintained by the Companies Registry. Instead of showing the directors’ residential addresses and the full ID numbers, only personal correspondence addresses and partial identification numbers (IDN) (the alphabet(s) and three digits in the case of Hong Kong identity card) will be accessible by searchers.
Specified persons to be defined by the relevant subsidiary legislation can apply to the Registrar of Companies for access to full personal information on the Register. The specified persons include shareholders of a company and public officers or public bodies (including law enforcement agencies), trustees in bankruptcy, liquidators, and inspectors under the Trustee Ordinance, the CO and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, etc.
The new regime is expected to be enacted in three phases from May 2021 until the end of 2023. Under the first phase, a company will be able to withhold from public inspection in its own register the residential addresses and full IDNs of its directors and company secretary.