Real estate agents get help to fight corruption

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 5:06am

The graft-buster has issued anti-corruption guidelines for the highly competitive real estate industry which is expected to be even more cut-throat following measures to curb home prices.

There were 115,533 sales and purchase agreements for units signed last year, an increase of 6.2 per cent, and the value of all the deals was HK$653 billion, an increase of 11.2 per cent.

Wendy Au Man-ling, chief corruption prevention officer at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, said the industry was very competitive and on average each agent could only complete three transactions last year.

This had tempted some agents to use inappropriate methods or resort to corruption to secure a deal, said Au, who revealed that there were 71 complaints of corruption against estate agents in the year, down from 77 in 2011.

She said the number of corruption complaints was stable after new stamp duties were rolled out over the past few months in an effort to cool the property market.

Au said the ICAC guide contains advice on how to prevent corruption, including the proper way to deal with commissions and how to keep transaction records. Some corrupt practices included getting a reward for leaking confidential information to competing agents.

Some agents would also use false documents to get a commission from their companies, or they would refer cases to their competitors who had paid them, she said.

Meanwhile, the ICAC will launch its smartphone apps in the second half of this year.

The apps will feature news and information from the commission.