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Hong Kong jewelers get new panel for industry standards

A new panel will regulate Hong Kong jewelers to ensure the industry maintains standards, the South China Morning Post reported July 31.

According to the report, The Code of Practice of the Jewellery Retail Industry, which took effect the same day, will implement an independent review committee to oversee compliance of the members to industry regulations, handle consumer complaints, protect the interests of online shoppers and cover product quality assurance, promotions and customer services, among other things.

The committee will be composed of industry members as well as non-industry figures, with former Liberal Party legislator Vincent Fang Kang heading it. The group can remove members from professional associations or deliver yet unspecified punishments if it finds jewelers breaching guidelines, the SCMP said.

However, the news agency said that the new code could become "a toothless tiger" due to the voluntary nature of the rules and because the panel has yet to specify penalties for breaking policies.

The code of practice was formed by the Kowloon Pearls, Precious Stone, Jade, Gold and Silver Ornament Merchants Association and the Hong Kong Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Association, two jewelers' associations, together with Hong Kong's Consumer Council.