Police will not be allowed to look at personal details held in government archives after the handover without the subject's consent, the head of public records said yesterday. Peter Lau Hon-cheung, director of the Government Records Service, said even if officers had a warrant but had not gained permission, lawyers would be consulted. Not even the chief executive could see the tens of thousands of files holding personal data if he had not gained appropriate approval, Mr Lau said The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, which came into effect last December, states personal data, such as income, identity card number and address, must not be used for a reason other than ones for which it was collected. For government files the only exception is that the Social Welfare Department can view adoption records at any time. Mr Lau said no documents that were presently classed as secret would be de-classified immediately after July 1. Speaking at the opening of the new Hong Kong Public Records Building, he stressed there would be no change to existing procedures Anyone wanting to view classified documents in the closed archive must apply to do so.