Central Authorities are required to co-operate and assist in securing the return of a child to the place of his/her habitual residence, if he/she has been wrongfully removed to or retained in another Contracting State. An international child abduction usually occurs when a person takes a child to another State without the consent of the person who has rights of custody of the child. Please click here to view the schedule of Contracting States and territories having a Convention relationship with Hong Kong.
The removal or retention of a child is wrongful if -
The Central Authority of Hong Kong will assist in securing the return of a child wrongfully removed or retained to the place of his/her habitual residence if -
You can apply for the return of the child if you have rights of custody of the child at the time of the wrongful removal or retention. "Rights of custody" include rights relating to the care of the person of the child and, in particular, the right to determine the child's place of residence.
However, you should note that the judicial or administrative authorities of the Contracting State or territory where the child is might not order the return of the child under the following circumstances -
After receiving notice of a wrongful removal or retention of a child in the sense of Article 3 of the Convention, the judicial or administrative authority concerned shall not decide on the merits of rights of custody, where there are civil proceedings in progress relating to the child, until it has been determined that the child in question is not to be returned or unless an application under the Convention is not lodged within a reasonable time. A decision concerning the return of a child is also not to be taken to be a determination on the merits of any custody issue. During the negotiation of the Convention, it was considered that custody disputes would be best left to the courts in the place of habitual residence of the child concerned.
For an outgoing case, you may -
For an incoming case, you may -
See also the Locating a missing child section.
If you send an application for assistance in relation to an outgoing case to the Central Authority of Hong Kong and your request fulfils the requirements under the CACO and the Convention, we can help you to liaise with the Central Authority of the relevant Contracting State or territory for assistance in securing the return of the child.
In an incoming case, it will facilitate our work in obtaining relevant information and evidence if you apply to us for assistance through the Central Authority of the place of the child's habitual residence. We will liaise with that Central Authority, and can assist in the relevant judicial proceedings. However, you can also send your application for assistance directly to the Central Authority of Hong Kong. We will assist if your request fulfils the requirements under the CACO and the Convention.
Amongst Central Authorities, appropriate steps will be taken to find the child, to bring about an amicable resolution or to institute judicial or administrative proceedings to secure the return of the child.
To submit an application for assistance to the Central Authority of Hong Kong, you should complete and submit a "Request for Return of Child" form (FORM DJ-C30(E)) (click here to download the form in pdf format, and click here for contact details of the Central Authority of Hong Kong). We also encourage other Central Authorities to use this form in incoming cases, as that will facilitate our work.
To enable us to process your application for the return of a child, please submit a copy of each of the following supporting documents (if applicable and available) -
You will assist our work by supplying the following information -
You should also indicate whether it is likely that the person thought to be with the child may co-operate in returning the child voluntarily or may flee with the child once alerted of your request for the return of the child. If you anticipate that the person will raise a defence, you will assist our work by supplying evidence in advance to deal with the defence.
Please note that the requirement to supply information is not intended to create procedural obstacles but to facilitate the conduct of proceedings in a proper and efficient manner.
A "Request for Return of Child" form should be completed in English (Form DJ-C30(E)) or Chinese (Form DJ-C30(C)). These two languages are the official languages of Hong Kong. Any communication or document sent to the Central Authority of Hong Kong that is not in English or Chinese should be accompanied by an English or Chinese translation or only where that is not feasible, a French translation. However, if communications or documents in French are sent, it may take longer for us to process your application due to the need to have them translated.