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Create Hong Kong
Commerce and Economic Development Bureau
Entertainment Special Effects Licensing Authority
Guidance Note No. 5

Requirements for Import and Use of Pyrotechnic Materials

A. Import of PSEM

Prior to import Pyrotechnic Special Effects Materials (PSEM) under the Entertainment Special Effects Ordinance (Cap. 560), an applicant shall comply with the following requirements:

(1) PSEM on the Approved/Registered Lists

To import PSEM that have already been approved by this Authority or listed in the PSEM Register, the importer shall submit a list of the proposed PSEM (including the quantity of each type) to be imported into Hong Kong. He also needs to obtain a conveyance permit issued by the Authority prior to the arrival of the PSEM at Hong Kong. A conveyance permit is required for custom clearance and for conveying the proposed PSEM on arrival to an approved storage. (Note: Importers should already have secured adequate storage space in Government Explosives Depot or in licensed PSEM stores in designated area, and such information should be provided in the application for the conveyance permit.)

(2) PSEM not on the Approved/Registered Lists

To import pyrotechnic materials that are not on the lists of approved/registered PSEM, in addition to complying with the requirements set out in para. A(1) above, the importer shall go through the process set out in Part B below. The Trade and Industry Department has specified special requirements for the import of strategic commodities. Pyrotechnic materials commonly used for producing special effects are generally not considered as strategic commodities. If in doubt please contact the Trade and Industry Department at 2392 2922 (web page:

B. Approval/Registration of PSEM

Under section 14 of the Entertainment Special Effects Ordinance (ESEO), all PSEM shall have already been approved/registered by this Authority before they may be supplied, conveyed, stored or used in Hong Kong. This requirement seeks to ensure that unsafe pyrotechnic materials are not available in Hong Kong. For pyrotechnic materials that have never been used in Hong Kong before, normally we may only grant approval instead of registration initially. Application procedures for approval are as follows:

(1) Documentation

The applicant shall submit a completed application form (Annex 1) for the pyrotechnic materials to be imported. The following essential supporting information/documents shall be provided together with the application form. Lacking in any of such information/documents will result in rejection of the application.

  • Name and address of the manufacturer
  • Material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • UN classification certificate
  • Drawings and technical specifications (including duration and height of effects, fallout radius, all-fire and no-fire currents)
  • Composition and net explosives quantity for each component
  • After-effects (including toxicity of fumes and other by-products)
  • Shelf life (with manufacture date) or expiry date

The applicant shall also submit any other information related to the product or to the effects of the product upon request by the Authority.

(2) Demonstration and Approval

The applicant may be required to arrange for firing of the pyrotechnic materials in the presence of officers of this Authority to demonstrate the installation and firing methods, the actual effects and fallout area, and the reliability of the materials. For the purpose of this demonstration, an approval may be given for import and conveyance of these pyrotechnic materials. The demonstration shall be conducted in a suitable venue by approved Special Effects Operator(s) with appropriate fire fighting equipment on standby. Any incurred costs shall be at the expense of the applicant. After a successful demonstration, the pyrotechnic materials will be entered into the list of approved PSEM.

(3) Registration

Application for registration of PSEM will only be considered if the product is in the list of approved PSEM and it has been successfully used in several entertainment events. The Authority will also carry out a review of the products in list of approved PSEM, and may of his own accord enter any of the approved PSEM into the Register, in accordance with section 17(2) of the ESEO.

C. Use of PSEM

To safeguard the public, the audience, the performers and the working crew, the use of PSEM for producing entertainment special effects is subject to various licensing and safety requirements. In addition to using PSEM which must be on the Approved/Registered lists, applicants are also required to convince the Authority that the PSEM can be safely handled and fired in a particular setting. Some of the general requirements that applicants must comply with are listed below:

  • Apply for discharge permits for the event (submit details of the discharge and all relevant documents)
  • Take out public liability insurance
  • Engage an adequate number of suitably qualified Special Effects Operators and Special Effects Assistants
  • Obtain consent of the owner/agent/management of the venue to use special effects materials
  • Conduct demonstration of the proposed effects (if required by the Authority)
  • Apply for a PSEM conveyance permit (if not exempted)
  • Provide adequate number of spotters and security guards for crowd control (subject to scale of the discharge and other circumstances)
  • Provide adequate and effective fire fighting equipment and personal protective equipment

Entertainment Special Effects Licensing Authority
17 January 2014

ESELA Guidance Notes 5 (17.1.2014)

Download: Application for Approval of Pyrotechnics Special Effects Materials

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