Tue, Jul 15, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Economic crime rampant in Hong Kong

AFP , HONG KONG

Thirty-one percent of businesses in Hong Kong suffered from economic crime in the last two years, with an average recovery of 20 percent of less of the loss incurred, a report by global accounting firm Pricewater-houseCoopers said yesterday.

In a survey of 85 business heads in Hong Kong, 35 percent of said they had suffered from some form of asset misappropriation and 23 percent had been victim of cyber-crime, the report said.

Sixty-four percent, of companies in Hong Kong expect fraud to increase or remain the same in the next five years while 28 percent expect their greatest risk to continue to be asset misappropriation.

"The risk and incidence of economic crime will not drop without substantial actions to tackle its roots," said Tony Parton, head of investigations and forensic services for Hong Kong and China at PrincewaterhouseCooper.

In the Asia-Pacific region, industries in the manufacturing and industrial products sector are highly susceptible to economic crime where product piracy is a chief vulnerability, the report said.

About a quarter of the organizations in the Asia-Pacific region identified product piracy and counterfeiting as a threat in the next five years.

The survey also found that worldwide the highest levels of economic crime were reported in Africa at 51 percent.

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