Patrick Biancone

Crimefighter can expect bumpy ride

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 May, 1999, 12:00am

FORMER top-ranking FBI official Timothy McNally starts work as Jockey Club security supremo tomorrow morning after a turbulent month for Hong Kong racing.

Mr McNally, the FBI's former No 2 in California, comes in just days after a District Court judge accused club investigators of displaying an 'oppressive attitude', before freeing an apprentice jockey accused of taking $800,000 to fix a race.

It also comes amid a potentially internationally embarrassing horse-doping probe involving top trainer Patrick Biancone.

Mr McNally, 51, who will report directly to Jockey Club chief executive Lawrence Wong Chi-kwong, is understood to have landed the top job over, among others, present security controller David Twynham.

The former FBI man admitted in an interview with the Post the day after his March appointment that he could initially face hostility.

He has declined to give any other interviews until his 'feet are under the table', said Jockey Club spokesman Wilson Cheng Kwok-ming.

Mr McNally is expected to preside over one of the biggest security shake-ups in Jockey Club history, which will give the upgraded security division unprecedented scope.

Insiders say the timing of his arrival has not been lost on those close to the club.

They say it signals Mr Wong's determination to keep racing clean and may lead to significant personnel changes.

Last week District Court Judge Maggie Poon Man-kay freed apprentice jockey James Chan Ka-chun, 22, after ruling that confessions given to the club's security department investigators were induced.

She said security manager Peter Palmer's pressing of Chan to make a statement by saying two other jockeys had 'turned him in' indicated an 'oppressive attitude'.

The probe into the Biancone-trained horse, Whytellyou, has dented Hong Kong racing's zero-tolerance drug stance - recognised worldwide - and raised the spectre of possible racecourse security breaches.

Mr McNally, who in his time with the FBI helped crack Mafia-related casino and hotel rackets, was also one of Miami's top federal drug investigators.

In the 1980s he probed international narcotics trafficking and the deadly Colombian and Sicilian drug syndicates.

His wife and family are expected to join him here later this year.


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