By Dan Byrne for AMLi
NEARLY ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE in Asia have bribed someone while using a public service in the last twelve months, new research has shown.
The figures from global corruption watchdog Transparency International suggest that 836 million people have relied on bribery in daily transactions over the past year.
Their report – titled Global Corruption Barometer: Asia – has collected responses from over 20,000 people on topics such as vote-buying and elections, ‘sextortion’ and personal connections when accessing public services.
Of these respondents, three out of four think government corruption is a big problem in their nation, bribery is regular, and a third of people think the largest levels of corruption are among their elected officials.
“Despite vast socio-economic and political difference, corruption remains one of the key challenges across the region,” Transparency International said in a statement.
“When it comes to people’s direct experience with corruption… the results are stark and worrying and call for immediate and coordinated action.”
The seventeen countries surveyed included Asia’s biggest economies – China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea.
Heavy attention fell on countries further east and around the South China Sea. Singapore was not included, nor were any countries in the middle east.
It was noted that at least a quarter of nations involved in the survey were seen as authoritarian regimes, and this was reflected in the survey’s findings that one in seven respondents claimed to have been offered a bribe for election votes in the past five years.
Respondents also expressed a level of fear over retaliation if they were to speak out against corruption, the report said.
For numbers of citizens who paid a bribe in the past twelve months, the highest instances were found in India (39%), Cambodia (37%) and Indonesia (30%).
Breaking down those results by gender, the report found that women were “disproportionately more vulnerable to paying bribes for document services like passports and driver’s licences.”
Meanwhile, Men are far more likely to pay bribes for health services and utilities. They are 2.5 times more likely to pay a bribe to the police.
The report recommends a broad effort to empower citizens in these countries to fight corruption, and for governments to ensure democratic integrity in elections.
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