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Abstract: This two-part case outlines the efforts of the Hong Kong government in the past fifteen years to reduce the widespread corruption within its ranks, particularly in the police force. Part A begins with background information on police corruption in Hong Kong and unsuccessful past attempts at controlling it, and ends with a discussion of Hong Kong's first effective anti-corruption measures, which included the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Office in the police force. Although the ACO was initially successful in reducing corruption, in the end it too fell under suspicion of corruption. Part B discusses Hong Kong Governor MacLehose's continuing efforts to crack the corruption syndicates, beginning with the establishment of a new anti-corruption organization, the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1973. The ICAC was designed with both strategic and operational goals in mind. The tools used to reach these goals included an extensive information-gathering system designed to find and punish corruption as well as prevent it, and a community relations department which served to garner public support and information while re-establishing the credibility that the ACO had lost.
Learning Objective: The case illustrates the importance of the strategic dimension in planning an anti-corruption agency. It underscores particularly the value of establishing an independent organization with a strong public image of integrity.