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HK corruption watchdog warns small, medium businesses against graft
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Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Wednesday urged small and medium enterprises to stay away from bribery despite the pressure of the economic downturn.

Some small and medium enterprises may be tempted to resort to bribery in securing loans or business orders in difficult times, said Julie Mu, director of community relations of the revered anti-graft agency.

She said there was a case involving two small business owners who offered 900,000 HK dollars to a bank officer to secure 132 million HK dollars in loans to ease financial strains facing their companies.

"Bribery is like quicksand - you will sink fast in it," Mu warned, adding graft only brings criminal prosecution and serious damage to business reputation.

The commission has formed a special taskforce to enhance corruption prevention and education services for small and medium enterprises. It will produce a guidebook to help them adopt best practices to strengthen internal control.

According to the latest news release by the ICAC, in the first four months of this year the commission received 1,068 corruption reports, up 6 percent over a year earlier. Of them, 62 percent concerned the private sector, 33 percent involved government departments and 5 percent for public bodies.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2009)

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