Hong Kong's main law against the abuse of people's personal data may not apply to the local offices of the central government, the administration said yesterday. When pressed for the reason why 12 ordinances had yet to be amended to expressly bind offices of the central authorities, almost 11 years after the loopholes were discovered, acting permanent secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs Arthur Ho Kin-wah told a Legislative Council panel the administration was studying whether those laws should apply and, if so, how. Administration of justice and legal services panel chairwoman Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said: 'Are you now telling citizens that the personal data (privacy) ordinance may not in fact apply to central people's government offices and that in fact they can violate people's privacy at will? Yes or no?' Mr Ho replied that 'there is no simple yes or no answer' since the issue was complex. The government said last month that four ordinances would be amended to expressly bind the three central government offices. However, a legislative vacuum still exists over 12 other ordinances.