HK cartel leniency powers are unclear

Author: Brian Yap | Published: 12 Oct 2015

Counsel in Hong Kong have criticised the lack of clarity on the treatment of subsequent whistleblowers under the city’s first leniency policy.

The Hong Kong Competition Commission, the city’s antitrust watchdog, launched a one-month public consultation on the draft policy on September 23.

But confusion surrounds some legal constraints on the functioning of the policy and the authority of the commission in exercising oversight.

"The challenge (for the commission) would be that it does not have the final say on the fines and sanctions which may be imposed because that is up to the tribunal to decide," said Maxime Vanhollebeke, registered foreign lawyer for Norton Rose Fulbright.

The current legal structure limits the competition regulator’s role to reviewing leniency applications and agreeing not to bring proceedings against the first applicant before the...