Anti-Corruption Agencies in Four Asian Countries: A Comparative Analysis

Jon S.T. Quah


To be effective, anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) must satisfy these six preconditions: (1) they must be incorruptible; (2) they must be independent from the police and from political control; (3) there must be comprehensive anti-corruption legislation; (4) they must be adequately staffed and funded; (5) they must enforce the anti-corruption laws impartially; and (6) their governments must be committed to curbing corruption in their countries. This article assesses the effectiveness of the ACAs in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea in terms of these preconditions. It concludes that the ACAs in Hong Kong and Singapore are more effective than their counterparts in South Korea and Thailand because of the political will of their governments, which is reflected in the provision of adequate staff and budget to Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption and Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, and the impartial enforcement of the comprehensive anti-corruption laws in both city-states.

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