Red-letter day for red packets as part of anti-corruption measures

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To promote the honest and fair execution of enforcement activities, the General Administration of Customs issued Announcement No. 19 on 2 April 2012, listing new anti-corruption measures with respect to the giving and receipt of “red packets” (i.e. cash, securities, payment vouchers, commercial prepaid cards, etc.).

story_4_picture_retouchCustoms units and officers are now strictly prohibited from accepting any kind of red packet from work contacts. Any customs unit or officer who accepts red packets, conceals their acceptance or distributes them privately shall be subject to disciplinary action. Criminal cases will be transferred to judicial bodies for prosecution.

Where a parent, spouse, child, in-law, any other relative of a customs officer, or any other person with a specific relationship with a customs officer, accepts red packets through leveraging the officer’s duties and powers, the customs officer will be investigated and punished in accordance with the relevant rules.

Where a customs unit confirms that a work contact has given red packets to the unit or any individual officer, the customs unit shall inform the individual and his supervisor or employer in writing and return the red packets. Where they cannot be returned, they shall be turned over to the state treasury.

Customs units shall post public notices in customs declaration halls or similar locations in the following cases: (a) where a unit or individual gives red packets more than twice; (b) where a unit or individual gives a red packet valued at more than RMB5,000 (US$780); (c) where a unit or individual gives red packets to more than three customs officers in any single incident; and (d) where the giving of red packets is in the nature of a bribe.

The names of the persons giving red packets, the amounts involved and how the red packets were handled by customs must be stated on the notices. China’s customs will closely monitor the export and import activities of persons giving red packets.

Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker & McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Zhang Danian (Shanghai) at Baker & McKenzie by e-mail at: [email protected]