Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 16:
Public Order
Fight Crime Committee
Police Force
Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC)
Customs and Excise
Narcotics Division
Independent Commission Against Corruption
Government Laboratory
Immigration Department
Fire Services
Correctional Services
Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance
Civil Aid Service
Government Flying Service
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Independent Commission Against Corruption

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is an anti-corruption agency independent of the civil service. Its commissioner is directly accountable to the Chief Executive.

During the year, the ICAC continued to keep corruption in check through its three-pronged strategy of investigation, prevention and community education. As a result of sustained anti-corruption efforts, Hong Kong continued to be rated by international institutions as one of the most corruption-free places in the world.

To provide an international forum for exchanging ideas and experiences in the fight against graft, the ICAC hosted the Third ICAC Symposium — Corporate Corruption, Integrity and Governance in May 2006. The three-day international conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from 41 jurisdictions.

The ICAC continued to enjoy a high degree of public confidence. According to an opinion survey conducted by an independent research company in 2006, an overwhelming 98.9 per cent of respondents expressed support for the anti-graft body. During the year, 73 per cent of complainants revealed their identities when lodging corruption reports to the commission — the highest since its inception.

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) applies to Hong Kong. It came into effect in February 2006, establishing an important milestone in Hong Kong's cooperation with the world in combating corruption.

Corruption Situation

The corruption situation in Hong Kong remained stable in 2006. During the year, the ICAC received 3 339 corruption reports, excluding election-related complaints, a drop of 9 per cent from the previous year. Of these, 32 per cent or 1 068 concerned government departments while 61 per cent or 2 037 were related to the private sector. The remaining 7 per cent or 234 reports were against public bodies.

In 2006, the commission received 57 complaints alleging corrupt or illegal conduct relating to public elections, which included the District Council by-elections, the Legislative Council election, the Rural Committee elections, Village Representative elections and by-elections, and the Election Committee Subsector elections.


As a result of vigorous enforcement actions, corruption in Hong Kong has become a high-risk crime. The ICAC's Operations Department looks into every pursuable corruption complaint and is proactive in exposing unreported cases. The department maintains close ties with other disciplined services, government departments, regulatory bodies and key industries in order to crack down on corruption more effectively.

During the year, a number of public servants were prosecuted for misconduct in public office and corruption related to the awarding of contracts and connivance in substandard works or services. In the private sector, a number of commercial fraud and bribery cases were exposed. These cases involved listed companies, massive bank loans, embezzlement of corporate funds, fraudulent insurance claims and the awarding of contracts and tenders.

At year-end, the department was dealing with 1 438 corruption cases, which included 41 election-related ones. Some of the cases were of a sophisticated and complex nature, and required more intricate and protracted investigations. During the year, 341 people were prosecuted and 45 cautioned in accordance with the advice of the Department of Justice. The overall conviction rate soared to a record high of 88 per cent during the year.

The Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (ICSO) was enacted in August 2006 to regulate covert surveillance and telecommunications interception carried out by law enforcement agencies. Following the promulgation of the ICSO, the ICAC has drawn up operational procedures to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements.


The Corruption Prevention Department has a statutory duty to advise government departments and public bodies on measures to minimise corruption risks in their systems and procedures. By working closely with the management of these organisations, the department identifies potential opportunities for corruption, and recommends ways to plug these loopholes and strengthen system controls.

During the year, the department conducted 96 corruption prevention reviews covering different areas of public administration including environmental protection, public works, public housing, education, public procurement and law enforcement. The department also provided expeditious advice on 348 occasions to public sector organisations to help them build corruption prevention measures into procedures, legislation or policies which were being drawn up.

The department's Advisory Services Group provides free and confidential advice in corruption prevention to private sector organisations upon request. In 2006, the group offered advice to private sector organisations on 366 occasions. It also issues Best Practice Packages to provide general guidelines for these organisations to minimise corruption opportunities in common problematic areas such as procurement and contract management. In addition, workshops were organised for various trades and industries to help them implement the recommended best practices.

To address problems revealed in the operation of some travel agents, the group promulgated a Best Practice Module that provides a checklist of best practices for travel agents to follow. Two seminars were organised with the regulatory authorities in the banking and telecommunications industries respectively to raise staff awareness to potential corruption risks in handling customer data.

Community Education

The Community Relations Department is responsible for educating the public against the evils of corruption and enlisting public support for anti-corruption drives with the help of the mass media and through face-to-face meetings with the public.

To further sustain a culture of probity in the civil service, the department and the Civil Service Bureau launched a programme on ethical leadership at the end of 2006. Under this programme, government bureaux and departments will assign directorate officers to act as ethics officers to take charge of the strategy and implementation of initiatives to further strengthen integrity in their organisations.

The department also continued to help different industries and professions in the private sector to improve their business and professional ethics. The department produced a training package for the banking and financial services industries, which contains practical guidelines for ethical management and for local managers employed by Hong Kong-funded banks operating on the Mainland.

With the support of the Estate Agents Authority (EAA) and six major trade associations, the department drew up a two-year training programme to help estate agents further enhance their professional ethical standards. The programme comprises seminars and workshops for the industry's senior managers and frontline staff. Moreover, anti-corruption laws are one of the core subjects taught under the EAA's Continuing Professional Development Programme.

To help young people become future ethical leaders, a youth training programme comprising a series of workshops and a case study competition was launched for tertiary students. The programme culminates in a youth summit, to be held in March 2007, at which universities from Hong Kong, the Mainland and several other countries will take part.

The ICAC has established a Property Management Network to encourage property management companies to take positive action against corruption. At year-end, the network had a membership of over 190 management staff from 85 companies. Several corruption prevention workshops and 144 anti-corruption talks were arranged for property management companies, building consultant firms and construction companies.

To ensure public elections are conducted in a clean and fair manner, the department launched mass anti-corruption education campaigns ahead of elections held during the year. Booklets were handed out and briefings were held to acquaint voters and candidates with the major provisions of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance. An election hotline was set up to answer queries. Posters, leaflets and a website were also used to drive home the 'support clean elections' message.

A total of 318 community activities were organised with district organisations, which included all 18 District Councils, More than 400 000 people took part in these activities.

International Cooperation

Apart from regular contacts with overseas law enforcement agencies, the ICAC maintains frequent exchanges with other agencies and organisations abroad. During the year, the commission received 319 visitors from different countries. The Serious Organised Crime Agency of the United Kingdom, the Australian Federal Police, the Singapore Police Force, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority of Nepal, the Supreme Prosecutors Office of South Korea, and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption of Sri Lanka were among those overseas delegations which visited the ICAC in Hong Kong.

The UNCAC, which was ratified by the Central People's Government in late 2005 and extended to Hong Kong in February 2006, advocates international cooperation in fighting corruption around the world through the exchange of information, surrender of fugitive offenders and asset recovery. While Hong Kong has a strong anti-corruption regime, the Government will make every effort to ensure full compliance with the UNCAC. In October 2006, the ICAC Commissioner led a delegation to the First Annual Conference and General Meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities held in Beijing to share Hong Kong's anti-corruption experiences with other countries.

Cross-boundary Liaison

The ICAC and the Mainland procuratorate authorities continued to assist each other in interviewing voluntary witnesses in connection with corruption investigations carried out under the Mutual Case Assistance Scheme established in 1988. In 2006, ICAC officers visited the Mainland on 25 times, while Mainland officers visited Hong Kong on 37 times to seek each other's assistance.

Exchanges with the Mainland anti-corruption authorities continued to increase during the year. The commission also held 203 talks for 6 440 visiting Mainland officials to introduce them to Hong Kong's anti-corruption strategies and experiences.

Checks and Balances

The operation of the ICAC is subject to a stringent system of checks and balances. Apart from judicial supervision, the commission's work is scrutinised by four independent advisory committees — the Advisory Committee on Corruption, the Operations Review Committee, the Corruption Prevention Advisory Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Relations.

An independent ICAC Complaints Committee, made up of members of the Legislative Council and prominent citizens, monitors the handling of non-criminal complaints against the ICAC and its officers.

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