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What penalties are available to the courts for violations of corruption laws by individuals?
Should prosecution be pursued and a conviction be handed down by the court, the following penalties apply.
Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO)
Section 12 of the POBO regulates the punishment of persons as follows:
- On summary conviction (including conspiracy), the offender will be subject to a HK$500,000 fine and imprisonment for three years for a Section 10 offence (possession of unexplained property by a prescribed officer) and a HK$100,000 fine and imprisonment for three years for all other offences.
- On conviction on indictment (including conspiracy), the offender will be subject to a HK$500,000 fine and imprisonment for 10 years for a Section 5 offence (offering, soliciting or accepting an advantage to assist or influence a contract with a public body) or Section 6 offence (offering, soliciting or accepting an advantage in relation to the withdrawal of a tender for a public body), a HK$1 million fine and imprisonment for 10 years for a Section 10 offence and a HK$500,000 fine and imprisonment for seven years for all other offences.
- There are also provisions for restitution of unlawfully obtained property.
- The Hong Kong courts have advocated the need for deterrent sentences, which means that immediate custodial sentences can be expected.
Where a person has been convicted of an offence under the POBO, the court may – if it is in the public interest to do so – prohibit the convicted person from taking or continuing employment, whether paid or unpaid, for up to seven years (Section 33A).
Banking Ordinance A person who contravenes Section 124 is liable to a HK$50,000 fine and imprisonment for two years on summary conviction or a HK$100,000 fine and imprisonment for five years on conviction on indictment.
Companies or organisations
What penalties are available to the courts for violations of corruption laws by companies or organisations?
The laws above contain no specific regime for recovery against corporate defendants. Should a corporate be prosecuted (which is rare), a fine would be the likely sentence.