Hong Kong's economy is not so special that it does not need a competition law, say 22 international scholars and the city's academics whose letter supports the government's draft law against anti-competitive behaviour. Taking aim at opponents of the bill - which hopes to create a level playing field for companies operating in Hong Kong - the academics said the resistance to the draft law had been based on invalid assumptions that the city's economy was unique. 'Over 120 countries have imposed such a law. The opponents should provide specific examples of why we should not have it,' said Thomas Cheng Kin-hon, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. The campaign has drawn six economics and law professors from Hong Kong and 16 from seven countries, as far afield as Israeli professor Michal Gal from the University of Haifa School of Law. Other high-level scholars include Allan Fels, dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, and Wang Xianlian, professor and director of the economic law department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 'We will send the letter to government officials, all Legco members and chambers ... We hope the debate can be well-informed,' said Professor Mark Williams, of Polytechnic University's school of accounting and finance. The eight-page letter challenges the 12 key objections raised in the Legislative Council after the bill was tabled in July last year. Controversial provisions in the bill include a penalty level set at a maximum of 10 per cent of an offending firm's global turnover, whether small and medium-sized enterprises should be exempt from the bill and whether European Union law - the basis for Hong Kong's bill - fits the city's economy. Critics said the draft bill was so ambiguous and harsh that it would harm SMEs before it stopped anti-competitive behaviour by the giants. Lawmakers asked for more clarity on restricted conduct, with hardliners vowing to block the bill, which is scheduled to be approved by the end of the current Legco term in July next year. The largest of the government's allies, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, is among the biggest objectors. It said it remained sceptical about the bill. But academics said defining anti-competitive conduct would hobble the bill. 'If a limited list of specific types of conduct were strictly defined ... skilful lawyers and their clients would merely devise a change in the form of the activity so that it fell outside the prohibition,' the letter said. The draft bill tackles two main types of anti-competitive behaviour: price-fixing and market-sharing; and abuse of market power. The signatories to the letter said the concerns of Hong Kong's SMEs about the bill were understandable, but that the experience of more than 120 overseas jurisdictions should serve as a reference.