ICAC inquiry into botched arrest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2006, 12:00am

Suspect who leapt from car was not wearing cuffs

Failure to follow detention procedures might have allowed a suspected member of a human-smuggling syndicate to escape while being guarded by three ICAC officers, it emerged yesterday.

The mainland visitor, 30, who was on the wanted list, was arrested while crossing the Lowu border checkpoint from Shenzhen on Monday. He was connected with a corruption case and three officers from the Independent Commission Against Corruption were despatched to detain him.

He was being escorted in a car to the ICAC headquarters when he jumped out at a red traffic light at the junction of Po Shek Wu Road and Po Wan Road in Sheung Shui.

The officers gave chase but the suspect escaped.

The commission has launched an internal inquiry into the escape. Sources said he had not been handcuffed and was allowed to sit next to a rear door.

Describing such escapes as rare, the source said the ICAC was very concerned and was conducting a thorough investigation.

'We do not rule out the possibilities that human error is involved in the incident. If negligence or mistake is found, disciplinary action will be taken,' the source said, adding that a decision to handcuff a suspect was based on 'operational needs' and risk assessment.

Another source said an initial investigation showed there was no evidence to suggest the three ICAC officers had conspired with the suspect.

'It will be difficult to locate the man as he is the suspected member of a human-smuggling syndicate and he should find a way to flee out of Hong Kong,' the second source said.

The mainlander left behind his bag containing personal belongings, including a two-way permit, a mobile phone and a wallet, in the car when he escaped.

A spokeswoman for the ICAC confirmed the incident yesterday but declined to reveal any details.