Anti-corruption regulation—Hong Kong—Q&A guide

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Anti-corruption regulation—Hong Kong—Q&A guide
  • 1. To which international anti-corruption conventions is your country a signatory?
  • 2. Identify and describe your national laws and regulations prohibiting bribery of foreign public officials (foreign bribery laws) and domestic public officials (domestic bribery laws).
  • 3. Can a successor entity be held liable for violations of foreign and domestic bribery laws by the target entity that occurred prior to the merger or acquisition?
  • 4. Is there civil and criminal enforcement of your country’s foreign and domestic bribery laws?
  • 5. Can enforcement matters involving foreign or domestic bribery be resolved through plea agreements, settlement agreements, prosecutorial discretion or similar means without a trial? Is there a mechanism for companies to disclose violations of domestic and foreign bribery laws in exchange for lesser penalties?
  • 6. Describe the elements of the law prohibiting bribery of a foreign public official.
  • 7. How does your law define a foreign public official, and does that definition include employees of state-owned or state-controlled companies?
  • 8. To what extent do your anti-bribery laws restrict providing foreign officials with gifts, travel expenses, meals or entertainment?
  • 9. Do the laws and regulations permit facilitating or ‘grease’ payments to foreign officials?
  • More...

Anti-corruption regulation—Hong Kong—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to anti-corruption regulation in Hong Kong published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: November 2020).

Authors: Herbert Smith Freehills LLP—Cynthianna Yau; Jeremy Birch; Kyle Wombolt

1. To which international anti-corruption conventions is your country a signatory?

Hong Kong is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption 2003 and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime 2000. Hong Kong is also a member of the Asia Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific.

2. Identify and describe your national laws and regulations prohibiting bribery of foreign public officials (foreign bribery laws) and domestic public officials (domestic bribery laws).

The Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) is the primary anti-corruption legislation in Hong Kong. Generally speaking, the offer, solicitation or acceptance of an advantage as a reward or inducement for or on account of someone (not) doing an act or showing (dis)favour constitutes an offence (subject to certain exceptions). There need not be a quid pro quo; it is well established that benefits offered to develop or retain goodwill (ie, 'sweetening') may fall foul of Hong Kong's bribery laws.

Domestic bribery laws

Public sector bribery offences

Undertaking the following acts without lawful authority or reasonable excuse is an offence:

  1. offering an

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