Upon the coming into operation of the Karaoke Establishments Ordinance (Cap. 573) (“the Ordinance”) and its subsidiary legislation on 8 January 2003, any person who on any occasion operates, keeps, manages or otherwise has control of a karaoke establishment in a restaurant is required to obtain a Karaoke Establishment Permit.
Under section 2 of the Ordinance, “karaoke” means an activity in which a person, by himself or, together with one or more than one other person, chants, intones, sings or vocalizes in association with or in company with any music or other sound, or any visual image or other information where –
- the music or other sound or the visual image or other information is produced, distributed or conveyed by means of a film, laser disc, video tape or any other audio visual device;
- the visual image or other information is displayed or exhibited on a screen or any surface; and
- the chant, intonation, song or vocalization is blended or mixed with the music or other sound or the visual image or other information by means of an amplifier, microphone, speaker or any other amplifying device.
“Karaoke establishment” means, subject to section 3 of the Ordinance, any place opened, kept or used for the purpose of karaoke by way of trade or business, whether or not the trade or business is carried on exclusively or in association or connection with any other trade or business activity and whether or not the place is a place to which the public have or are permitted to have access.
The Ordinance shall not apply to any karaoke establishment –
- in premises where the karaoke activity is carried on in not more than 3 rooms with an aggregate floor area of not more than 30 square metres; or
- in concert halls, theatres, auditoria and community halls that a valid licence has been issued under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance (Cap. 172); or
- The Licensing Authority has issued an exemption order for the premises such as bona fide restaurants.
“Bona fide restaurants” are restaurants licensed by this Department, providing karaoke facilities and satisfying the following criteria:
- The aggregate area of all rooms partitioned for karaoke activities do not exceed 30% of the seating area in the restaurant. “Seating area” is defined as the aggregate floor area of entertainment rooms, corridors, lounge, dining area, dancing area (where applicable) and reception area; and
- The number of room partitioned for karaoke activities does not exceed the quotient obtained from dividing the total seating area in square metres by 100 square metres.
However, all operators of bona fide restaurants have to apply in prescribed form to the District Office (Environmental Hygiene) of this Department for exemption from the application of the Ordinance. Upon satisfying the criteria of a bona fide restaurant above, exemption for obtaining a Karaoke Establishment Permit will be granted.
An applicant for a Karaoke Establishment Permit will be required to meet the prescribed fire safety, building safety, public safety and health requirements. However, for the karaoke establishments that existed before the date of commencement of the Ordinance, a transitional period of 12 months will be granted to allow time for their compliance work. Another grace period of 12 months will be given if their permit applications made within the transitional period are refused.
Please be informed that under section 4 of the Ordinance, it is an offence for any person who on any occasion operates, keeps, manages or otherwise has control of a karaoke establishment in restaurants without a permit issued by the Licensing Authority.