Many sectors of business in Hong Kong need to be scrutinised to combat anti-competitive practices, a Consumer Council official says. Adrian Walker-Smith, the council's chief trade practices officer, said informal discussions with industry had indicated areas of business in need of examination. However, he would not identify these sectors without further investigation. He said the property and telecommunications sectors were largely unaffected. 'But there is no shortage of other areas to examine,' he said. It is likely the insurance industry will be an early target. Last month, insurance companies were accused of collusion in making proposals to raise premiums where payouts had jumped. It was a claim echoed by the council itself but denied by industry representatives. Evidence of another possible price cartel recently emerged among companies involved in buying surplus British forces equipment in Hong Kong. The audit department is considering whether to investigate. Other contenders for investigation could be the shipping industry and areas of the transport and service sectors. Mr Walker-Smith said the main problems were price-fixing cartels and abuse by companies of their dominant market position. Last November, the Consumer Council published a report calling for the adoption of a competition policy, including laws and the setting up of a government-backed regulatory body. Mr Walker-Smith said that while Hong Kong had a good reputation in the area, to maintain its edge in an increasingly competitive world environment it needed to ensure anti-competitive practices were stamped out. 'There are areas of limit and handicap,' he said. He said he expected the government to give its considered views on the subject by August. 'We've spoken to 25 business groups during the last few months and most accept the basic idea of legislation to counter anti-competitive practices,' Mr Walker-Smith said. He said that the handover should have little effect on the desire to design legislation. 'China itself already has some laws covering anti-competitive practices, Hong Kong does not,' he said.