The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is looking into five suspicious Web sites that are alleged to have offered trading or investment services to the public without getting authorisation from the securities watchdog. The commission found the five suspicious sites on Monday when it took part in a regional campaign to fight securities crime on the Internet. The SFC said it was making inquiries about the sites and would take action against their operators when appropriate. 'The SFC adopts the same principle in regulating all intermediaries and investment plans, no matter whether they are operating through a branch or through a Web site on the Internet,' an SFC spokesman said. The SFC joined 12 other Asia-Pacific regulators to surf the Internet on Monday in search of possible fraudulent or illegal activities in the securities and futures markets. It is the third time the SFC has taken part in the annual Internet Surf Day. The event, in which mainland and Australian regulators also took part, was arranged by the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions. 'The surf day not only helps to increase public awareness of potential investment fraud on the Internet, but also sends a clear message to wrongdoers that they can not escape detection by the international regulatory community,' the SFC said. The SFC had an Internet surveillance programme, carrying out daily monitoring of Web sites, chat rooms and bulletin boards to detect any unauthorised investment plans targeting Hong Kong investors. It had prosecuted nine firms and disciplined a registered intermediary as a result of the programme. The public are invited to report any suspicious activities they come across on Web sites or in chat rooms. The commission said that investors should check whether investment schemes or intermediaries found on the Internet were regulated by the SFC or any other watchdog. If investors were considering an investment opportunity found on the Internet, they should always do research, such as getting hold of an annual report, to check the company was genuine.