A provisional legislator is calling on the Government to make insider trading a criminal offence amid growing concern about a surge in erratic share price movements. The demand for a change in the law places Provisional Legislator Law Cheung-kwok, who is also deputy chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, at odds with the Securities and Futures Commission, which favours civil rather than criminal proceedings for insider trading. The legislator will raise the matter in the Provisional Legislative Council meeting on September 27 while questioning the effectiveness of the present insider trading regulations. 'The market has been so volatile in recent months,' he said. 'The SFC has admitted that there may be some insider dealing cases behind the unusual price movements. 'It indicates the current insider dealing rules are not tough enough to help stamp out criminal activities by insiders.' Mr Law said the Government had promised to review the insider dealing ordinance next year, adding he would take the opportunity to push his case for a change in the law. Under the tribunal hearing system of the present insider dealing ordinance, fines of up to three times the size of profits derived from insider trading can be imposed. Insider traders can also be banned from being a director of a listed company for five years. 'Overseas countries have succeeded in getting the insiders, who are the big bosses, to go to prison,' he said. 'It is only the possibility of imprisonment which is a tough enough threat to deter people from committing insider dealing.' SFC chairman Anthony Neoh has said the commission would propose a review of insider dealing laws next year. He disagreed with changing the law to make insider trading a criminal offence. He said such a change would require a higher standard of proof which would make it more difficult to achieve successful prosecutions. Mr Neoh said foreign countries, which used criminal law to prosecute insider dealing, needed more time to collect evidence and successful prosecutions were rare. He favoured civil proceedings instead of the tribunal hearing system. Civil proceedings could ensure more severe penalties than the tribunal hearings. In cases where wrongdoers admitted to offences a tribunal hearing would still be necessary and therefore time consuming. In a civil trial an insider trader who admitted crimes would avoid hearings and pay fines. According to government sources, it is unlikely that the law will be changed to make insider trading a criminal offence. Stiffer fines and longer bans on holding a company office are more likely.