Briefing by the Secretary for Security on the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address
Safeguarding national security
Mr CHAN Chun-ying declared that he was a member of the Operation Review Committee of ICAC.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed appreciation to the efforts made by the disciplined services in safeguarding national security and maintaining public safety over the years. While the threat level of Hong Kong being subjected to terrorist attack was now moderate, members pointed out that terrorist ideologies endangering national security were going underground and infiltrating via the media, culture and arts, and other “soft resistance” means. They sought details about SB’s counter-terrorism preparedness and publicity work, including whether consideration would be given to producing a series of documentaries for student education in this regard.
The Administration advised that efforts had been and would continuously be made to remind members of the public to take the steps of “Run, Hide, Report” as appropriate to stay safe in the event of a terrorist attack. The above apart, the launch of the National Security Department Reporting Hotline had facilitated members of the public to provide or report national security related information. To enhance public awareness on countering terrorism, members of the public were invited to participate in counter-terrorism drills if circumstances allowed. SB had also joined hands with relevant parties such as schools to promote the public’s understanding and responsiveness in this regard through various means such as publicity videos. Law enforcement agencies (“LEAs”) would continue with the enforcement actions against “soft resistance” materials endangering national security.
Briefing by the Commissioner, Independent Commission Against Corruption on the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address
Corruption situation in the private sector
Mr CHAN Chun-ying was concerned about the corruption situation in the private sector, in particular that of the accounting and construction subsectors. Information was sought on the corruption reports recorded for the accounting subsector in 2021, the collaboration between ICAC and the Financial Reporting Council (“FRC”) to foster the integrity of financial reporting by auditors of listed entities, as well as the effectiveness of the implementation of the Integrity Management System (“IMS”), in particular its component of integrity training, in the construction industry.
ICAC advised that it and FRC had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2021 to enhance regulatory cooperation. While ICAC did not maintain separate statistics on corruption complaints in the accounting subsector, few among the 98 corruption complaints received in 2021 concerning the finance subsector involved accountants. The joint operation conducted by ICAC and FRC in November 2021 was an isolated case which involved accountants.
With regard to the implementation of IMS, ICAC advised that the Development Bureau (“DEVB”) had since March 2021 incorporated compliance with the integrity policy and integrity training components of IMS as a listing requirement for approved contractors for public works and approved suppliers of materials and specialist contractors for public works. Besides, DEVB, the Construction Industry Council and ICAC jointly launched “Integrity Charter” in September 2021 to promote integrity management through IMS to all construction companies. ICAC would work with the stakeholder organizations to organize thematic integrity training workshops for the managerial staff of the participating construction companies who should then organize in-house training in their companies. As IMS had been launched for a relatively short period of time, it was too early to assess its effectiveness at this stage.