Make Hong Kong’s anticorruption laws extraterritorial to win back the confidence of the international business community, says lawmaker Kenneth Leung
- The opposition Legco member said extending the reach of the laws would provide a further deterrent to would-be culprits
- Leung also criticised the government for disbarring a number of pan-democrats from standing for election
A Hong Kong opposition lawmaker has called on the government to adopt a similar approach as the United States to make the city’s anticorruption laws extraterritorial so as to “win back” the confidence and respect of the international business community in the city in the wake of the Patrick Ho Chi-ping case.
Speaking on the RTHK radio programme “Letter to Hong Kong” on Sunday, Kenneth Leung, who represents the accountancy sector in the legislature, said Ho’s case had “greatly tarnished the clean business ethics and integrity of most Hong Kong people”.
Ho, Hong Kong’s former home affairs minister, was charged and found guilty by a New York court earlier this month of scheming to offer bribes to the leaders of Chad and Uganda to secure oil rights for a Chinese energy conglomerate.
Ho, who had pleaded not guilty, was expected to be sentenced next March.
“Hong Kong’s Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, unlike the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, does not have any extraterritorial effect,” said Leung.
“If we could extend the reach of the law to cover acts proscribed by the ordinance, including the taking of bribes by or offering them to a Hong Kong resident in a territory outside Hong Kong, that would at least give a severe warning to any Hong Kong resident before doing anything reckless in a foreign jurisdiction,” he continued.
Leung stressed that the “business community always needs a level playing field, free flow of information and good business ethics to conduct business”.
“There are policies and measures which Hong Kong can definitely push forward to win back confidence, respect and business,” he said ion the programme.
He also criticised some recent moves by the Hong Kong government, including the banning of certain pan-democrats from standing for elections, which “have cast a great doubt on whether this city is still the freest economy in the world and a unique place to conduct business in China”.
He urged the Hong Kong and Beijing governments to stick to the letter of the law and the spirit of “one country two systems” and refrain from doing anything that would “in the perception of the international business community, harm the freedom and uniqueness of this city”.