In Hong Kong, imprisonment is the heaviest penalty and involves incarceration of the convicted offender in a prison for a fixed period of time. The heaviest form of imprisonment is life imprisonment.
Normally the offender needs not serve the full length of the actual term of imprisonment imposed by the court. According to Rule 69 of the Prison Rules (Chapter 234A), the period of imprisonment may be subsequently reduced if the conduct of a prisoner is good. The maximum amount of reduction should not exceed one-third of the actual term of imprisonment. In practice, a prisoner will normally be given the full one-third reduction unless he or she behaves poorly or violates any prison rules. Hence, if a person is sentenced by the court to serve three years' imprisonment, that prisoner will usually be released from prison after two years if he/she behaves well. Rule 69 does not apply to a prisoner serving a sentence of imprisonment for life.