I wanna be an ICAC investigator
By Lau Kit Wai
What qualifications do you need?
Basically you must be a university graduate. The job of Assistant Investigator (AI) only requires applicants to have passed five subjects in the HKCEE, but in recent years many AIs have been university graduates.
What sort of person does the job suit?
Investigators must have good organisational skills, a cautious mind, attention to detail, and common sense. Since we spend almost half of our time working outside the office conducting enquiries, people who are outgoing will enjoy the job very much.
What's the best way into the industry?
Studying hard is a must. It is also important to keep an eye on current affairs including political and economic issues, as we need to approach people of different fields and backgrounds.
What work hours do you keep?
It's about 10 hours per day. Sometimes we have to work around the clock due to operation needs. If necessary we have to be on standby during holidays.
Is there a clear career path?
The commission has a mentor system for AIs. The mentor, normally an experienced senior investigator, will guide you in your work for two and a half years, which is the tenure of your first contract. To gain promotion from AI to the post of investigator, you have to sit a professional exam.
What's the best part of your job?
It gives me a lot of satisfaction as I meet lots of different people. More importantly, my job can help keep Hong Kong free of corruption.
What's the worst?
Due to the confidential nature of our investigations, I cannot talk about my work at home or to friends. Although I cannot tell my family about my work pressure, I can share it with my colleagues.
An AI's starting salary will be about $13,500 per month, rising to $25,500 for an investigator.
You can gain an edge over your competitors by improving your general knowledge. For example, I studied accounting and human resources [at university] and was not familiar with industrial and engineering issues. Newspapers and magazines contain information that is very helpful to investigations.