In order to promote the honest and fair execution of enforcement activities, the General Administration of Customs issued Announcement 19 on April 2 2012, setting out anti-corruption measures with respect to the giving and receipt of so-called 'red packets' - cash, securities, payment vouchers, commercial pre-paid cards or other instruments.

Pursuant to the announcement, customs units and officers are strictly prohibited from accepting any kind of red packet from work contacts. A unit or officer found to have accepted red packets, concealed their acceptance or distributed them privately will be subject to disciplinary action. Criminal cases will be transferred to judicial bodies for prosecution. Moreover, if any relative of a customs officer (or other person with a specific relationship to an officer) accepts red packets through leveraging the officer's duties and powers, the officer will be subject to investigation and punishment in accordance with the relevant rules.

Where a customs unit confirms that a work contact has given a red packet to the unit or to an individual officer, the unit must inform the individual and his or her supervisor or employer in writing and return the red packet. If it is impossible to return the red packet, it must be made over to state funds.

Customs units are required to post public notices in customs declaration halls or similar locations if:

  • a unit or individual gives red packets more than twice;
  • a unit or individual gives a red packet valued at over Rmb5,000 (around $790);
  • a unit or individual gives red packets to more than three customs offiecers in any single incident; or
  • a red packet is being given as a bribe.

The notices must name the person or persons giving the red packets, specify the amounts involved and explain how Customs dealt with the red packets.

Customs will monitor closely the export and import activity of persons giving red packets.

For further information on this topic please contact Eugene Lim at Baker & McKenzie's Hong Kong office by telephone (+852 2846 2413), fax (+852 2845 0476) or email ([email protected]).