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History of the death penalty in Hong Kong and Macau

History of the death penalty in Hong Kong and Macau

Hong Kong and Macau are separate jurisdictions under the “one country, two systems” principle, and both of them have now abolished the death penalty.

Capital punishment effectively ceased in Hong Kong before its formal abolition. The last execution took place there in November 1966, when the authorities put a convicted murderer to death.

The Hong Kong government formally abolished the death penalty after the Legislative Council voted in favour of legislative measures to abolish it in 1991 and April 1993. The sentences of all those who had been condemned to death at the time were commuted to life imprisonment. Before its abolition, capital punishment was mandatory in Hong Kong for murder, treason and piracy with violence.

Macau was a Portuguese colony until it was returned to the People’s Republic of China on 20 December 1999. The last execution took place in Macau during the 19th century. The death penalty was abolished in both Portugal and Macau under the 1976 Portuguese constitution. Furthermore, Article 39(1) of the Penal Code of Macau (law 11/95/M), which was adopted in 1995 after consultation with the Chinese government, states that: “There shall not be a death penalty nor perpetual penalties or security measures of unlimited or undefined duration.”

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