Amendment to a liquor licence in Hong Kong overview

Application for Amendment of a Liquor Licence

In this section, I’m going to be dealing with amendments to liquor licenses. There are many reasons why a liquor licence might need amendment and there’s a form, published by the government, strangely, not by the Liquor Licensing Board.  It’s reference FEHB 106C and that form is at the link above.

The form itself is relatively simple; it’s in ten parts, and the first four parts are self-explanatory. The licence number, the name of the liquor licence holder, Hong Kong Identity Card, and the relevant correspondence address, coupled with telephone numbers for offices and email addresses and the like.

Item 5 – Address of Licensed Premises (Chinese and English addresses must be completed separately).

Item 5 is in relation to the address of the licensed premises and there’s a Part A and Part B for English and Chinese, if you only have one language then stick with one, but basically use the business registration certificate address or the branch registration certificate that applies to the premises itself and make sure this is done accurately. There shouldn’t be any confusion.

Item 6 – Contact Information of Licensed Premises

Now most licensed premises will have a landline telephone, which is the telephone number, but if you don’t, then you can use a mobile, as long as the mobile number belongs to the premises or a person who’s going to be in the premises. 

Item 7 – Shop Sign

Remember that the shop sign itself will already appear on the liquor licence because you need to designate a shop sign when you apply for a liquor licence. It will be the existing name of the business at the premises and that might not be the name of the company that runs the premises.

So you might be ‘ABC restaurant’ and that will be your shop sign.

Item 8 – Business Registration No. of the premises

If the premises are run by a company(Name, Business Registration No. of the company, Company No.) Item 8 relates to the business itself and the business registration number. 

As I say, if you have a limited company that operates a business at the premises that might well be the business registration number of the company or it could be a branch registration. In which case, that’s the one you use, the premises-related registration.

Part B goes on to talk about companies, and in three parts asks for the name of the company, the business registration number, and the registration number from the company’s registry that relates to the company itself. If it’s a Hong Kong company, it will have one. 

Item 9 – Nature of Amendment(s)

Part 9 talks about bars, dancing, and hotels. If you had wanted to add one of these three or delete one of these three, there’s a simple box-checking exercise here. 

I’ve spoken before about bar endorsements and they are a thorny area and a complex area, both in terms of their deletion or addition or the need for them and if you’re unsure about what to do, then have listened to either one of my podcasts or reviews on the application process for that, and I’ll try and include a link to the application related area that discusses bar endorsements. 

Link to Application Guide – Part F – Nature of Business Page 12 Item 29

New Portion

If we go onwards in the same section we find an addition of a new portion of a licensed premises or deletion of a portion from a licensed premises. That’s where you’re changing the size or scope of the area in which you seek to be permitted to sell liquor for consumption on the premises. 

Again, that’s a graphical matter, it’s a planning matter and it’s a technical matter. Obviously, that would need you to attach various documents and the like. There’s a qualifier in that section in relation to hotels, but I won’t go into any detail there. 

There’s also a section for any amendment to an English address, if there needs to be one, but again that’s self-explanatory. 

Change of Additional Licensing Condition Imposed

The next box worth consideration is the ‘change of additional licensing condition imposed’ box. 

Quite a lot of liquor licenses are subject to ‘additional licensing conditions’ that may or may not still apply. They may have been granted to a business that was previously at the premises; which was very different to the one you’re now running. 

You may have changed the nature of your own business into something different, which means that the licensing conditions that were applied additionally, are no longer relevant. Or it may just have become simply impossible to operate under the present additional licensing conditions, and you seek to have them changed, adjusted, or even removed. 

A change would be, including a deletion in my mind. If you wanted to actually totally remove, say a capacity condition, because it was wrongly imposed or change the hours of operation, to the point where there weren’t any hours limits, you could simply say in this section the details of the additional licensing condition. Just replicate it as it is, and what it is to be amended to or deleted in that section. If there’s any lack of space, just add a page and ‘see attached page’. 

Explanation of Reasons

The area also asks you to explain the reasons for the application, and you can state brief reasons there. Again, it’s actually mentioned on the form if there’s not enough space, continue on a blank sheet of paper.

If you are seeking to amend say, hours of operation because of simple economic difficulties, state it. Explain why, and give them some support because if you provide more information here there may not need to be an open public hearing in relation to your application, the Board may be happy to deal with it in a private session and you may get what you want. 

But if you don’t say much, and you don’t explain your position, then obviously, nobody knows ‘why’ and that will probably result in a hearing. If you don’t explain in enough scope, you might get a call from the Liquor Licensing Board, or you might be called to go to the Police station to explain yourself at that point. So, more here is better. 

Business Nature

There’s another box (following) which is to change your business nature. 

That’s very topical at the time of writing. There are a lot of people who have decided that the bar business in Hong Kong is unsustainable in the current environment, and they want to remove being a bar and stop being a bar and become a restaurant, or perhaps stop being a nightclub and become something else. Again it’s self-explanatory and there’s even a slot at the bottom for ‘others – please specify’ where you can write whatever you like.

Shop Signs

Moving on to the last page of the form on page 5, we are still in Section 9, and the last couple of things are changes to shop signs.


If you change the name of your business, as it’s known to the public, that is a change of a shop sign. So, whatever it is that you trade as on the exterior of the premises and that might not be exactly the same as the Business Registration. Usually, it is but it might not be. It asks you to state what the proposed new shop size should be. 

Lastly, there’s a beneficial amendment section at the end which is called ‘others’. So if there’s anything not covered by this that you want to do or you want to amend, that’s the place to write it down. 

Item 10 – The percentage of revenue generated from liquor selling to the total revenue of the subject premises.

The last section is an interesting one and this arcs right back (again) to this bar endorsement issue. 

Section 10 says; the percentage of revenue generated from liquor selling to the total revenue of the subject premises. 

This is an interesting one because on the application form, the Liquor Licensing Board traditionally requires a person, applying for a licence where the premises is wholly or mainly used for selling liquor, to apply for a bar endorsement, which comes with some other considerations. 

If you write in ‘over 50%’, the Liquor Licensing Board would expect a bar endorsement to be applied for and they would probably be reluctant to remove a bar endorsement. 

A deep discussion of this question in relation to selling liquor on a ‘revenue basis’ is a little outside the scope of this note. Just keep in mind that comment I’ve just made about bar endorsements and what it means.

Information Access

Lastly, there’s a disclosure point of consent to government departments to access information, remembering that the applicant for these matters is an individual because the liquor licence is held by an individual. So, the government will be researching things about you, as the person who signs the form.

There are explanatory notes as to what you need to provide and I’m definitely not going to go through all of those. Simply work your way through the five sections of explanatory notes. 

There is a data privacy notice, which is standard with the government when they’re collecting data in relation to your application.

New areas

Earlier on I mentioned that the form does have some complexity when you’re dealing with new portions, areas of licenses that aren’t covered by restaurant licenses and the like and there is a technical section that ‘Annex I’ to the form, and definitely again, I am not going to read through all of those requirements but they’re very simple in one way, you will probably need expert assistance in relation to getting them technically correct, and also maximizing the chances that your application will be successful.

If you are creating new portions of licensed premises and seeking permission from the Liquor Licensing Board to use those areas for liquor sale and consumption, it’s a complex issue. 

You need to take detailed instructions from competent people such as architects and planners and understand what you can do may be subject to quite detailed examination by the Buildings Department, Lands Department, and indeed even people like the Police. 

All of those things may have an impact on whether or not this application is successful. So, just pay attention to that last area if that’s relevant to you and ‘Annex I’ needs to be completed.

Any information contained in this overview should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.