Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has warned of the tremendous challenges facing Hong Kong society in the fight against corruption. Mr Tung made the comments at the opening of the three-day global law enforcement conference yesterday. 'At the moment, we are facing tremendous challenges as our economy grapples with restructuring,' he told more than 500 anti-corruption experts from 60 jurisdictions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 'It is times like these, when margins are thin or turnover lacklustre, that the temptation to take shortcuts or seek illicit advantage rears its ugly head,' he said. Pledging his full support in the fight, Mr Tung revealed Hong Kong's graft-busters were 'tackling more corruption cases of an increasingly complex, sophisticated and globalised nature'. 'There is no room for complacency,' he said. 'With accelerated economic globalisation and rapid advances in technology, corruption today transcends national boundaries and has taken on a new dimension.' Organised syndicates, including international money-laundering schemes, massive commercial fraud scams, cross-border drug trafficking, people-smuggling and other serious crime were perpetuated by corruption, he said. 'Corruption is a social crime. Its adverse effects on a society can be very significant if left unchecked,' Mr Tung said. 'It can erode the rule of law, undermine the efficiency of governments, stifle economic development and, in some cases, may trigger social and political unrest.' Mr Tung lauded the efforts of the ICAC for its 'tenacity, impartiality and professionalism'. He said it would continue to play a significant role in upholding Hong Kong's image as a world city with a clean government and level playing field for business. But despite the challenges voiced by the chief executive, Hong Kong still remains one of the least corrupt places in the world. A survey by Transparency International, known as the Corruption Perceptions Index, last August rated Hong Kong as among the least corrupt cities in the world. Another survey by the same organisation ranked Hong Kong at the bottom of economies whose governments were likely to be associated with practices designed to gain unfair advantage in international trade and investment.