The Designs of ID Cards
The varying designs of ID cards are efficient in coping with the changing needs of the community. Going from a paper document to a smart authentication, the evolution of ID cards has witnessed the changes of the society and the advancement of technological development in Hong Kong over the past decades.
Paper ID Card (Since 1949)
The earliest identity cards issued were made of stiff paper. Besides the name, gender, photograph and ID card number, it also included the card holder’s address, employment address, occupation, etc.
Laminated ID Card (Since 1960)
The laminated ID cards were more durable and convenient to use. The ID card edged blue was for male, and the one edged red was for female. It bore the photograph and the left thumbprint of the card holder on the front while the reverse side contained the name and other personal particulars of the card holder. Juvenile ID cards did not bear the photograph and given name of the card holder because of the rapid changes in facial appearance of juveniles who might possibly change their names in their adolescence.
New Laminated ID Card (Since 1973)
The new laminated ID card was bilingual. In order to achieve this within a card of reasonable size, the thumbprint was excluded from the ID card. Meanwhile, place of birth of the card holder was added on the ID card. The given name and photograph of the card holder were included in the new laminated juvenile ID card to facilitate the identification of card holders.
First Generation Computerised ID Card (Since 1983)
To tackle the problem of ID card forgery, a more secure computerised ID card was introduced. The eligibility for a Hong Kong Re-entry Permit was indicated by three asterisks (***) and one asterisk (*) symbols for people at the age of 18 or above and under the age of 18 respectively.
Second Generation Computerised ID Card (Since 1987)
The second generation computerised ID card was introduced in two types: Hong Kong permanent ID card and Hong Kong ID card. They were still in use after 1997.
Smart ID Card (Since 2003)
Featuring state-of-art technologies, the smart ID card stores in its microchip the template of the card holder’s thumbprints, which serves as a very effective deterrent against counterfeits.
New Smart ID Card (Since 2018)
There is enhancement in card durability, security features as well as chip technology and personal data protection of the new smart ID cards.