Sentencing is one of the most important aspects of the criminal process. The sentencing judge must take into account a multitude of factors including the interests of the oﬀender, the victim and society in arriving at a just and appropriate sentence. Errors made in the sentencing process can result in the excessive detention of an individual, the premature release of a dangerous oﬀender, aggrieved victims who feel justice has not been done, and other issues. Sentencing can also be highly political, with governments using sentencing reform as a way to curry favour with voters attracted to ‘get tough on crime’ policies. In Hong Kong, however, with its developing state of democracy, the politicisation of sentencing has not been seen, and indeed one might criticise the legislature for giving insuﬃcient attention to the topic generally. This chapter outlines the main sentencing options currently available in Hong
Kong before discussing the various purposes and principles of sentencing that the judge or magistrate must consider and apply in determining the punishment to be given in a particular case.