HONG KONG'S six leading chambers of commerce are organising the territory's first Business Ethics Conference with the backing of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Paul Cheng Ming-fun, chairman of the organising committee, said that business ethics was a growing global trend and that Hong Kong must fall in line to keep its international reputation and competitiveness. Over the last two decades, Hong Kong had emerged as a leading financial and business centre in Asia, partly because of the high standard of its business ethics which ensured a clean and efficient environment for international investors. The conference would help Hong Kong keep its leading position in Asia and preserve its hard-earned reputation, said Mr Cheng. ''Hong Kong's success is built on a number of pillars: our geographic location; our role as an international hub; our sophisticated infrastructure; and our skilled and highly productive workforce,'' he said. ''Somehow, business ethics, as one of the pillars of our success, are often overlooked,'' he said. But Mr Cheng, who is also the chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, said that business ethics had been crucial to Hong Kong's development as an internationally respected trading and financial centre. ''The ICAC has reported that private sector corruption reports are on the increase. Like most statistics, this can be viewed in different ways,'' he said. ''The most positive interpretation would be that private sector corruption is not necessarily increasing. It is simply that more people are making a stand against corruption - and are no longer afraid to come forward to help fight this disease.'' He said that while it appeared that more people were refusing to tolerate corruption, the fast-buck syndrome also appeared to be growing in certain sectors of the community. Mr Cheng said there was ''a real fear'' that corruption would increase in the run-up to 1997, as Hong Kong's business links with China continued to grow. He called for self-regulation as a better alternative to governmental or legislative control. The organisers have invited speakers from Hong Kong's two main trading partners - China and the United States. The speaker from China will be Zhang Xuwu, executive vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce - a non-governmental chamber of commerce with 580,000 members. The US speaker will be Gary Edwards, president of the Ethics Resource Centre, based in Washington.