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Offering bribes outside Hong Kong may also be prosecuted

Trades / Industries:

Fred was an engineer of a construction company and was responsible for approving the electrical equipment and materials required for construction projects. He was going to get married, but due to financial problems, he could only afford a simple wedding. His fiancée was very upset.


Fred's cousin David, an employee of a Hong Kong enterprise engaged in home automation system business, was recently posted to a production factory in the Shenzhen to handle the development of new products. He had to travel frequently between Hong Kong and the Mainland. David, in the hope of gaining recognition from his company and getting more funds for his R&D work, recommended a home automation system to Fred when they met in Hong Kong. David persuaded Fred to use the system in a local private residential project undertaken by Fred's company and suggested that an illegal commission of HK$200,000 could be paid to Fred by instalments.  Without hesitation, Fred accepted the offer. David then appropriated HK$30,000 from the company's entertainment account for partial payment of the commission to Fred, calling it a wedding gift.


Fred thought that he could use the money to subsidise his wedding, but unfortunately the system he had purchased were found defective. The incident aroused the suspicion of the construction company's senior management, which then referred the matter to the ICAC for investigation. With substantial evidence, Fred was arrested just days before his wedding.

Case Analysis

It is against the law to offer any advantage, whether directly or indirectly, to any  person  or  to  a  third  party having  connections  with  that  person,  if  the advantage is proven to have been offered in relation to his duties. Although David offered an advantage to Fred under the pretext of giving him a wedding gift, both of them were still guilty of a bribery offence.


The illegal commission was offered to an employee of a Hong Kong company by a company based outside Hong Kong. However, if any part of the act of bribery (including offering, soliciting or accepting a bribe) takes place in Hong Kong, the case may still be pursued by the ICAC under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO).


Likewise, if non-local residents request their Hong Kong counterparts to deposit bribes into a Hong Kong bank account, both parties will be in breach of the POBO as part of the bribery transaction takes place in the territory.

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