The Bank of China (BOC) is talking with a British-based non-profit commercial crime buster about setting up a Hong Kong office to help it fight the menace. International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commercial Crime Services executive director Eric Ellen said the BOC had been toying with the idea for a few years after the rapid expansion of its international trade financing activities, which made it a target of commercial crime. Last year, its crime-busting efforts helped corporations worldwide save US$13 billion, of which a significant proportion was related to commercial crime in China involving Chinese companies being cheated and Chinese nationals defrauding others. The BOC was one institution which often sought its help, as it was heavily involved in international trade financing, making it a target of commercial crime. 'It sends us almost every bill of lading it has worldwide for us to do further checks on,' Mr Ellen said. Last year, the checks often uncovered cases of fraud and dishonesty and managed to help it and other Chinese companies save $80 million. ICC Commercial Crime Services is a non-profit organisation, which works closely with the International Maritime Organisation, under the United Nations. Mr Ellen said he was confident Shanghai eventually would emerge as an international financial centre, but it would first have to put in place legislation to check commercial crimes such as money-laundering, computer fraud and piracy. 'If you are a financial centre, not only must you have money-laundering legislation, but rules and procedures,' he said. 'In many areas, there is zero tolerance for money laundering and money launderers will always look for soft options and they will look for countries without money-laundering legislation and procedures.' Coopers & Lybrand Singapore partner Chew Teck Soon also called on China to pass legislation to combat computer fraud. 'As Shanghai strives to be a financial centre, the use of computers will rise - so will the risks of computer fraud,' Mr Chew said. 'It is essential the Chinese Government should look at legislating the kind of activities that will bring the fraudster and trickster to court.' Legislation should punish unauthorised access to computer systems, abuse of computers, use of computers to abate crime, and illegal alteration of computer programs. Mr Chew said corporations in China could educate employees about computer fraud in their fight against white-collar crime.