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New inspection arrangements reliable

The Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau said the new inspection arrangements for the Companies Register are reliable.   The bureau made the statement today in response to media enquiries on an online report alleging that the Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury had provided misleading information regarding the implementation of inspection arrangements for the Companies Register at the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affairs’ meeting on April 9.   The bureau described the allegation as groundless.   It said the Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury explained at LegCo last week that the Companies Registry, simulating the proposed new inspection arrangements, had conducted a stocktaking exercise on the Companies Register this month in regard to records of current individual directors of live companies holding Hong Kong Identity Cards who may have identical full names and partial identity card numbers.   Results showed that, amongst about 588,000 current directors holding Hong Kong Identity Cards, only eight pairs of them have identical Chinese or English full names, as well as the same alphabet and the first three numbers of the identity card, equivalent to a chance of 0.003%.   Some media today quoted an online report with information obtained from the Companies Register that includes a comparison of partial identity card numbers in a way which is not the pattern to be adopted under the new inspection arrangements. Therefore, the bureau pointed out that the results are not directly comparable.   Meanwhile, some people with identical details, as quoted in the online report, are from dissolved companies that are no longer live on the register, it added.   The bureau said the Companies Registry's exercise results could effectively demonstrate the level of reliability of the search services under the new inspection arrangements.   Taking into account comments from members of the LegCo Panel on Financial Affairs, the bureau said it will look into the possibility of providing additional information for searchers to identify directors if they have identical partial identification numbers and Chinese or English full names, without compromising the principle of protecting the full identification numbers of directors.
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