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Migrants to Hong Kong Urged to Comply with Anti-Corruption Laws Amid Rising Bribery Incidents

Warning to migrants amid claims of school, bank bribes

In the wake of increasing reports of bribery attempts by new arrivals, Hong Kong officials are urging migrants to adhere strictly to the city’s anti-corruption laws. The warnings come as cases of school staff being offered bribes for student admissions and bank staff being solicited for expedited services have surfaced.

Lawmaker Jesse Shang Hailong, founder of the Hong Kong Top Talent Services Association, revealed that he has been approached by mainlanders seeking assistance after allegedly attempting to offer “red packets” to school staff. “Some people have been prohibited from leaving Hong Kong to assist in the investigation and thus could not work,” Shang said. “I urge the new arrivals not to break the law.”

Since early last year, Shang has received around ten such requests for help. In one notable case, a 45-year-old one-way permit holder, Li Junping, pleaded guilty last March to offering a HK$20,000 bribe to the principal of Hennessy Road Government Primary School in Causeway Bay to secure a spot for her son. Li was sentenced to four months in jail.

Shang has been proactive in raising awareness about Hong Kong’s stringent anti-corruption laws. Ahead of the summer holiday, a peak period for interim school admissions, he emphasized the importance of integrity and warned against taking illegal shortcuts. “As the summer holiday approaches, new arrivals should not take shortcuts, to promote the culture of integrity,” Shang said.

To combat unfamiliarity with local laws, Shang has been disseminating information through WeChat groups and bi-monthly top talent seminars. Additionally, he has appeared in an awareness video for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), stressing that ignorance of the law does not exempt one from criminal liability. The video, available on the ICAC’s WeChat account, also advises public and private sector employees to report any corruption cases.

The Top Talent Pass Scheme, introduced at the end of 2022, has seen significant interest, with over 77,000 applications received as of March. About 62,000 of these applications have been approved. Shang acknowledged the unfortunate nature of the bribery incidents but cautioned against forming broad negative perceptions of new arrivals.

In a bid to support new talent, Hong Kong Talent Engage is organizing an online job fair on Wednesday, featuring over 500 professional job vacancies. The event will include participation from six major organizations across sectors such as artificial intelligence, IT and cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing tech, biomedical tech, aviation, banking, legal services, and human resources. The job fair will be livestreamed at 2:30 PM.

As Hong Kong continues to attract global talent, the city remains steadfast in upholding its anti-corruption standards, ensuring a fair and transparent environment for all residents.