A MAJOR campaign aimed at instituting a voluntary code to combat corruption in Hong Kong's business community, including Chinese-funded companies, is to be launched by the Governor.. The aim of the drive will be to introduce a business-ethics code applying to all listed Hong Kong companies as part of a wider effort to end graft. To assist the project, a wide-ranging survey of the public and senior executives is underway to gauge ''perceptions and attitudes'' on business ethics, and a conference - featuring prominent speakers from the US, China and Hong Kong - will be held in May. In his address to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Thursday, the Governor, Chris Patten, said ''corruption is one of the most worrying features of our present life''. He used his speech to highlight what he called the ''really big problem'' and to announce the launch in the next few weeks of the anti-corruption drive which he first suggested last October, when he revealed that a new Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) task force would be set up. The initiative follows last week's announcement by the ICAC Commissioner, Bertrand de Speville, that reports of graft reached a record high last year, rising 44 per cent to 3,284. Mr Patten told the House of Commons committee that while crime figures for 1993 were the best for 10 years, corruption was on the increase, and that it must be stopped to protect Hong Kong's image. ''If we allow crime to creep in under the door, before very long it will have done huge damage to the community and huge damage to our reputation as a centre for business investment,'' he said. ''We have taken a new initiative with the private sector. ''I propose that individual firms, as well as trade and professional bodies should sign a code of conduct on corrupt practices. ''I am launching a campaign of education and commitment in the private sector in a few weeks' time and I hope that we can be on our guard against the sort of pandemic corruption which some Chinese officials have pointed to and which they are obviously manfully trying to tackle.'' The campaign is being organised by a group of the six most prominent business associations, including the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the ICAC's Community Relations Department (CRD). CRD director Eddie So Chuen-yee, who is in charge of a 30-strong task force set up on the Governor's orders to work on the campaign, said the ethics code was ''entirely voluntary'' and had ''to be individualised''. ''You cannot have a standard code for all as it would not work,'' Mr So said. ''The major aim [of the campaign] is to provide ethical standards so that we can compete with the rest of the world as far as business ethics are concerned. ''It is to bring Hong Kong up to international standards.'' Mr So said his department had already approached 14 companies and eight trade associations listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange to help them draw up their own codes of conduct. ''It is a start. I expect momentum to pick up following the May conference,'' he said.