ICAC urges better ethics teaching

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 1996, 12:00am

An ICAC official says the teaching of ethics to university students should be improved after a spate of alleged frauds by undergraduates and graduates.

ICAC regional officer for the northwest New Territories, Vanessa So Cheung Lai-ying, said more should be done to instil a sense of right and wrong among university students.

'Some faculties already have modules on business ethics, but students' interest in these modules is not high.

'Some faculties don't even have enough students to constitute a class.

'The students may think that this is not directly related to their professional studies,' Ms So said.

A former City University of Hong Kong student, Wong Tse-yeung, 21, was sentenced this month to nine months in prison for forging signatures on nine cheques. He embezzled more than $500,000 from the Student Union while he was its treasurer. The money was returned before the verdict.

A 21-year-old student at another university was arrested last month for allegedly stealing students' wallets and applying for credit cards with the help of the information he found inside. He was accused of using the cards to run up bills of more than $20,000.

A business administration graduate fresh from Shue Yan College was convicted in another fraud case.

Ms So said some students were more tolerant of corruption.

'Youth frontline workers attribute this to the overall materialistic nature of society, as well as the fact that students have no experience of the evil of corruption in the 1960s and '70s, when it was prevalent.' The 'quick cash' rush to get as much money before the handover was also a crucial factor, Ms So said. She added that in the aftermath of the three cases, the Independent Commission Against Corruption would arrange talks with students who handle finances.

The ICAC would also consult faculty heads, especially in business departments, to ask them to teach more about ethics.

Professor Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai, head of the Department of Accountancy at City University said the subject was one of the faculty's major themes. She said that wrongdoing among young people was an international problem.

An ICAC survey found 50 per cent of students questioned rated their ethical standards as 'low' or 'very low'.