Don't take Hong Kong's graft-free culture for granted, Bernard Chan tells youth

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 4:10am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 6:08am

Passing on Hong Kong's largely corruption-free culture to the next generation includes fostering anti-graft awareness at the regional level, says Executive Council member Bernard Chan.

As the chairman of a committee that organises youth education campaigns for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Chan said young people should not take for granted that the city will always be the graft-free society they have known since they were born.

"Compared with the younger generation, those from my father's generation tend to attach more importance to honesty, having grown up witnessing rampant corruption," the 49-year-old said. "Even me, not to mention today's young people, we grew up in a society that does not tolerate corruption and may easily take it for granted.

"But elsewhere, doing business sometimes means corruption," said Chan, a member of the Thai-Chinese family that founded Bangkok Bank, describing how different it is to do business in Southeast Asia.

He said Hong Kong companies have long been doing business with partners globally, and corruption cannot be prevented if only one side maintains a high level of integrity. "No matter how high a standard you have for yourself, we may still face business partners who are not the same," he said.

This would be a challenge the younger generation would face when they ascended to key positions in society in future, he added.

Referring to an ICAC-organised youth summit on Saturday, Chan said the city's youth would get a chance to discuss how they could foster a graft-free society in the region with other young people from the mainland, Thailand and Indonesia.

Organising the summit cost HK$650,000, including funding a four-day trip for 11 overseas students and financial support for local university students organising an integrity promotion campaign.