A Didactic Experience for Armenia: How Corruption Anarchy was ended in Hong Kong

Today board member of the U.S. Alumni Association of Armenia, candidate of legal sciences, Doctor of Law Gabriel Balayan gave a lecture to the participants of the Anti-Corruption School for Young Leaders on the RA state control system and its constitutional grounds in the Repubic of Armenia.

He also draw parallels between the Armenian experience and the progressive international experience. Mr Balayan spoke of the principles, types, and forms of control.

The next presentation was about the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong. Cofounder of the U.S. Alumni Association of Armenia, AYLA president, coordinator of the secretariat of the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition Karen Zadoyan first presented an historical overview of Hong Kong.

He said that after the 1960s corruption kept rapidly growing in Hong Kong. “As I was preparing my presentation, I found many similarities between Hong Kong and Armenia. Right now we are at the same stage as Hong Kong in the 60s: We have tips, we have corruption, etc. In Hong Kong the public had been adapting to the situation for a long period of time but there came a moment when their patience snapped. The last drop to make the cup run over was the escape of senior police officer Peter Godber. He was not Chinese, he was a high-ranking foreign officer who possessed assets worth 4 million 300 thousand dollars. One day the public demanded that he declare where he had gotten so much money. The Chief Prosecutor gave him 7 days to come up with corresponding justifications but he fled Hong Kong,” said Mr Zadoyan. In 1973, after the escape, thousands of young people went to the streets demanding that the corrupt official be returned and the fight against that vice be commenced. The public pressure proved successful.

According to Mr Zadoyan, the Independent Commission Against Corruption was created in February 1974, and its first important case was Godber’s case. At the beginning of 1975, Godber was extradited from Great Britain, stood trial and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Due to its first steps, the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption gained the great trust of the society.

After this, Mr Zadoyan presented the activities of the body and drew parallels between the latter and the anti-corruption council in our country.

Should we trust the Anti-Corruption Council of Armenia? After asking this question, Mr Zadoyan mentioned that the Council can gain the public’s trust not by making high-profile declarations on the necessity of fighting corruption but by carrying out activities that would change people’s lives for the better.

The Anti-Corruption School for Young Leaders is organized by the NGO “Armenian Young Lawyers Association” in the framework of the U.S. Alumni Outreach Grants Program, with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia.

The independent news website Iravaban.net is the information partner of the Anti-Corruption School for Young Leaders.

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