On 10th May, 2017, the lecture theme “Anticorruption Experience in Hong Kong and Case Analysis in ICAC” was held in RUC by the Center for Research on Government-Enterprise Relationship and Industrial Development of NADS. The guest and speaker is Mr. Guo Wenwei, former associate commissioner of the ICAC in Hong Kong.
The lecture was presided by Zhang Nan Diyang, the deputy director of the Center for Research on Government-Enterprise Relationship and Industrial Development and commented by Nie Huihua, Director of the center and Deputy Dean of NADS.
Mr. Guo reviewed that during 1970s, Hong Kong suffered from prevalent corruption among police and jelly-built public housing. In 1974, the ICAC was established and 40 years after its born, Hong Kong has changed into one of the most uncorrupted regions worldwide. Mr. Guo pointed out that law enforcement, corruption prevention and education were three approaches lying in the key of successful anti-corruption, among which law enforcement is the foundation. There are around 1300 staff in ICAC and 1000 of them are for operations, supported by professional inspection teams, computer specialists, accountants, lawyers, management consultants and education professionals.
Mr. Guo also pointed out that ICAC curbed group corruption before dealing with individuals, thus saving much time. ICAC is also empowered by Hong Kong Act a series of investigation power, such as the power of arrest, retention for 48 hours, accessing bank data, monitoring when approved by the court, seizure of assets, and asking for the suspect or witness to provide data and travel documents.
In term of ICAC architecture, the commissioners are nominated by the chief executive to be approved by the central government. The Hong Kong government consists of three Division and thirteen Bureau. Although ICAC commissioners are lower than senor officers in the government, they are directly supervised by the chief executive ensuring the independence of ICAC.
The ICAC also set a 24-hour corruption reporting center for quick response to public report, among which 70-75% were reported with real names. Based on the principle of “Zero Tolerance towards corruption”, the ICAC has a strict eye on the public officers. As stipulated in Chapter 201 of the Prevetion of Corruption Ordinance, one should commit a crime to provide any profits for any public officers and so do the officials that have any misconduct. Once convicted guilty, one can be charged as much as 500000 HKD and a 7-year imprisonment. Without the permission of chief executives, any public servants who ask for or accept any bribe constitute crime. Once convicted guilty, one can be charged as much as 100000 HKD and a year imprisonment.
In terms of supervision, there is mechanism for the balance between the external and internal supervision. The Advisory Committee on Corruption Issue is for external supervision, while the ICAC Complaint Committee plays a role in internal supervision. The committees are independent and members, ranging from Legco members to social elite, are appointed by chief executives. Any citizen can make a complaint if he/she is not pleased with the behavior of certain ICAC Commissioner or the working procedure of ICAC. ICAC always pays an attention to self-construction and the whole team is managed under proper incentives, strict recruitment, complaint mechanism, internal investigation team and independent supervision.
In the comment session, Professor Nie said that ICAC experience in anti-corruption brought confidence for Beijing in its anti-corruption fight. Anti-corruption should focus in small areas and reform in a broad perspective. Nie also pointed out that mainland and Hong Kong differ in terms of legislation and cultural system. Therefore, Beijing should draw upon the experience of anti-corruption in Hong Kong based on its actual conditions. The important take-away from this lecture is to make power balance our mindset and at the same time strengthen the credibility of legislation system.
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