Speakers at an ongoing international symposium hosted by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) called for international anti- corruption cooperation including cooperation in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance.
“As corruption often transcends borders, local efforts are not enough. International cooperation is called for. Chapter IV of UNCAC (the United Nations Convention against Corruption) is dedicated to international cooperation and covers a wide range of measures including extradition and mutual legal assistance,” Teresa Cheng, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government’s Secretary for Justice, said in her keynote address at the 7th ICAC Symposium.
Describing Hong Kong as “an active and responsible player in the area of international cooperation,” Cheng said that under the principle of “one country, two systems”, the Basic Law allows Hong Kong to establish its own regime of reciprocal juridical assistance with foreign states, including extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
“The existence of a suitable legal framework for surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance is a hallmark for the rule of law […] Hong Kong’s surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance regimes contain prerequisites of cooperation which are in line with international standards,” she said, adding that “amendments to further enhance the legal framework have been put in place and under discussion at the moment” in Hong Kong.
Speaking at the symposium, jointly hosted by ICAC and the World Justice Project (WJP), ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh said the fight against corruption is a shared responsibility of different stakeholders.
“It requires not only the relentless efforts of anti- corruption agencies but also the tenacious endeavor of different stakeholders in the public and private sectors as well as the civil society,” said Peh.
Titled “Fighting Corruption – A New Perspective” and bringing together over 500 representatives of anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies from more than 50 jurisdictions, the three- day symposium was opened Wednesday by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
“From its early days, the ICAC has attached great importance to establishing and maintaining rapport with overseas anti-corruption and law- enforcement agencies,” said Lam. “Corruption remains a global issue today and is affecting all countries. […] The global efforts in fighting corruption must therefore continue.”