H. What are the possible outcomes after the investigation?
- The Commission may take no further action, and will provide a written explanation of this outcome to the complainant. Sometimes it is not necessary for the Commission to take any action if the parties have already changed their conduct in response to the Commission’s enquiries. In such case, the complainant will be informed of this.
- The Commission may accept a commitment to take any action or refrain from taking any action from parties under investigation.
- If the Commission has reasonable cause to believe that there has been a contravention of the First Conduct Rule, and this suspected contravention does not involve Serious Anti-competitive Conduct, the Commission must first issue a warning notice before commencing proceedings in the Tribunal. The warning notice provides parties under investigation with an opportunity to cease the conduct within a specified period.
- The Commission may issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable cause to believe that there has been a contravention of the First Conduct Rule involving Serious Anti-competitive Conduct and/or the Second Conduct Rule. In the Infringement Notice, the Commission will offer not to bring proceedings
- in the Tribunal on condition that the undertaking(s) under investigation makes a commitment to comply with the requirements of the notice within a specified compliance period.
- Instead of issuing an infringement notice, where the Commission has reasonable cause to believe that a person has contravened the First Conduct Rule involving Serious Anti-competitive Conduct and/or the Second Conduct Rule, or been involved in such a contravention, the Commission may also directly initiate proceedings before the Competition Tribunal.
- The Commission may refer the complaint to a Government agency wherever appropriate, and provide a written explanation of this outcome to the complainant.
- In addition to the investigation, the Commission may also conduct market studies into matters affecting competition in markets in Hong Kong.
[Source: Commission’s Guideline on Investigations Paras 7.6, 7.14, 7.16-7.17 & 7.24-7.25]