Hong Kong is second only to Switzerland in the Tax Justice Network’s newly published 2015 Financial Secrecy Index, inching up one spot from the NGO’s previous ranking.

The ranking compares national jurisdictions based on their secrecy laws and the scale of offshore financial activities in the country. The United States, Singapore and the Cayman Islands were also amongst the “worst offenders” in the top five.

Finance Street, Central. Photo: Wikicommons.

Described as one of the world’s “fastest growing secrecy jurisdictions or tax havens,” Hong Kong has made insufficient reforms to its corporate secrecy regime, according to the London-based campaign group for greater transparency in finance.

The report notes that Hong Kong’s “classic see-no-evil approach to financial regulation” and “reluctance to sign up to global transparency standards” makes it a premier choice for ultra-rich individuals and businesses looking to shield their assets behind a cloak of secrecy.

According to the TJN, this secrecy “creates a criminogenic hothouse for multiple evils including fraud, tax cheating, escape from financial regulations, embezzlement, insider dealing, bribery, money laundering, and plenty more.”

Click here to see the full ranking table and narrative report for Hong Kong.

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Ryan Kilpatrick

Ryan Kilpatrick is a local writer, journalist and editor. Formerly National Online Editor for the That's magazine group in China, his work on the history and politics of the region has earned him the CEFC Award in Modern China Studies and has also appeared in China Economic Review, Asian Studies Review, China Green News, e-International Relations, Shanghaiist and various publications at his alma mater, the University of Hong Kong, where he is currently enrolled in the Master of Journalism programme.