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Engaging the Public: Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Community Relations Strategy

Different Paths to Curbing Corruption

ISBN: 978-1-78190-730-6, eISBN: 978-1-78190-731-3

ISSN: 0732-1317

Publication date: 26 November 2013


The implicit assumption underlying the work of most anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) is that they need to change public attitudes toward corruption to ensure a cleaner future. The means of achieving this objective usually rest on sanctions, prevention, and sermons. Changing attitudes is seen to be largely a matter of prosecuting the corrupt, putting preventive measures in place, emphasizing the negative social and criminal consequences of corruption, and exhorting the public to achieve higher moral standards. Engaging the public is rarely undertaken directly. If it were, it would entail a community relations approach based on face-to-face, decentralized interaction between the ACA and the public. In principle, this approach might have three significant advantages. First, it could enable the anti-corruption message to be communicated more directly and, possibly, more effectively. Second, it might assist the ACA in identifying groups within the community which have developed, or are developing, attitudes which are potentially antithetical to its objectives. Third, it could serve as a springboard for local anti-corruption initiatives which might help to embed desired practices in the community or groups within it. In this chapter, we examine the extent to which one of the few agencies to adopt a full-blown community relations strategy – Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – has been able to achieve those benefits.


Scott, I. (2013), "Engaging the Public: Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Community Relations Strategy", Different Paths to Curbing Corruption (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 79-108.



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