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Macao's integrity situation ranks 4th in Asia: report
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Macao's integrity situation was ranked fourth among 13 evaluated countries and regions in Asia by the annual report, "Trend of Corruption in Asia 2008", which was released on Wednesday by the Political and Economic Consultancy Ltd (PERC).

According to the report, rankings are made based on scores, with 10 score being the most corrupted and a lower score reflects a better integrity situation, and the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has scored 3.3 this year and ranked fourth among the evaluated, following Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, which was the same as the 2007 rankings.

PERC is a consulting firm specializing in strategic business information and analysis for companies doing business in East and Southeast Asian countries. The consultancy included Macao in its annual report for the first time in 2006, and since then the SAR has maintained its fourth ranking for three consecutive years.

The conclusion of the annual report was made after conducting through questionnaires and interviews, and responses were obtained from over 1,400 foreign businessmen and expatriates in the countries and regions surveyed, said PERC.

Addressing the report, the SAR government's Commission against Corruption (CCAC) said in a press statement that Macao scored better than the previous years (5.18 in 2007) in the 2008 rankings, which meant that the SAR's integrity situation has "evidently enhanced".

The report also pointed out that despite the potential issues of corruption resulting from Macao's fast growing economy that brought about larger flow of funds, the public trial and record long sentence of Ao Man Long, former SAR secretary for Public Works and Transport, showed the authorities has stepped up its effort to fight corruption.

The 51-year-old Ao Man Long was sentenced by the Court of Final Appeal of the SAR to 27 years in jail in January this year, as he was convicted of 57 of the 76 charges, including corruption, money laundering, abuse of power and other related crimes.

For its part, the CCAC said although Macao is facing intensifying pressures from emerging corruption issues as the report indicated, the SAR government is determined to continue its anti-corruption drive as the public has raised more of their awareness on such issues.

(Xinhua News Agency, March 13, 2008)

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