Sunday, 10 May 2015

HK corruption-free status upheld

Chief Executive CY Leung

Welcome to Hong Kong, one of the cleanest cities in the world.  Cleanest, not just literally, but also as a matter of probity. I am absolutely confident in making that statement, thanks to the good work of our anti-corruption agency, the organiser of today's event, the ICAC, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.


You might be surprised to hear that our society was once beset with corruption. When the ICAC came into being in early 1974, corruption was rampant in Hong Kong's public sector. What you are seeing today - a clean and generally corruption-free city - bears witness to our efforts over the past few decades. The ICAC, together with our other authorities, have done their jobs - and done them well, to uproot corruption.


Upholding core values

Our status as Asia's world city and our standing as a global business centre, more notably as China's international financial centre, and the world's China Financial centre, reflect the Government's, and the community's, insistence on upholding our core values. They include a level playing field for all, the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and our firm belief that corruption in any form and at all levels cannot be tolerated. These values are embedded in our people's personal, business and public lives. They are rock solid in our community.


Apart from these fundamental values, the Hong Kong SAR Government fully supports ICAC. The ICAC's three-pronged strategy - enforcement, prevention and education - has worked well. 


In recent years, there were a few widely reported corruption cases here. I'm talking about prominent members of the community convicted for corruption and related offences. These cases reflect, and reaffirm, the independence of our judiciary and the robustness of the ICAC's anti-corruption efforts.


The sentences imposed by the courts in these cases also sent a clear signal that corruption is not tolerated. And the manner in which these cases were investigated demonstrates the ICAC's determination to fight corruption without fear or favour, regardless of the background, status or position of those involved.


Unwavering commitment

Still, there have been some comments about Hong Kong's international "freedom from corruption" ranking, some concern that it may be falling. The facts do not bear that out.


A number of international surveys, including the "Rule of Law Index", released by the World Justice Project, and the "Competitiveness Report", by the World Economic Forum, continue to rank Hong Kong among the cleanest places in the world. And the ICAC's Annual Survey last year found that only 1.5 percent of respondents believed they had come across corruption in the previous 12 months.


Corruption is contained in such an environment. And when it does occur, our commitment to fighting it, wherever it may appear, whoever may be involved, is unwavering. 


Corruption, of course, knows no borders, no boundaries. And the fight against it demands international collaboration - strategies that embrace governments, unite organisations and educate our law-enforcement colleagues. Which is why I'm delighted to have so many renowned specialists, from all over the world, here for this three-day event. I hope the event can further strengthen our co-operation with agencies around the world, to step up our fight against corruption.


I wish you all a fruitful ICAC Symposium and our visitors a memorable stay with us here in Hong Kong, one of the most dynamic, and corruption-free, cities in the world.


Chief Executive CY Leung gave these remarks at the opening ceremony of the 6th ICAC Symposium at the Convention & Exhibition Centre on May 11.

Otmane El Rhazi
Department of Commerce
Economic Development
Text/Mobile, +44 7414 782 320

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