ICAC boosts officers' training to tackle complex corruption cases

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2006, 12:00am

The ICAC investigated financial transactions totalling $6.25 billion last year and is pressing ahead with plans to strengthen such inquiries.

The head of operations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Daniel Li Ming-chak, said the commission had to continue to enhance investigators' training to gain an edge over increasingly complex corruption activities. Officers from the financial investigation section conducted 140 financial analyses and asset-tracing exercises last year, involving 1,160 transactions. This compared with 136 assignments involving 1,305 transactions in 2004.

Overall, the ICAC received 3,685 corruption reports last year, a 2 per cent drop on the previous year.

The ICAC announced in March that it would set up a financial investigation team of 11 investigators to meet demand. It said yesterday the recruitment process was under way.

By last year, the caseload of another specialist group, the computer forensic section, has increased three-fold compared with six years ago when the section was set up. It completed 538 computer data analyses last year and 653 analyses in 2004. Mr Li said continuous training in financial investigation, computer analysis and forensics, as well as experience-sharing with overseas agencies, were vital to the ICAC's work.

He said that in recent years, officers have taken part in local and overseas training programmes, including courses on financial investigation hosted by agencies in Thailand and Singapore and attachment programmes at the Metropolitan Police in London.

The ICAC will host the third ICAC Symposium next week, where anti-corruption officers from around the world will gather to strengthen co-operation.

ICAC data shows 820 corruption reports had been made in the first quarter of this year.

Among them, 288 concerned government departments, 473 related to the private sector and 59 to public bodies.

Mr Li said the city's civil service was largely clean and cases cracked by the ICAC involved only individual civil servants.

'However, it is impossible to wipe out corruption completely, especially in a highly commercialised city and an international financial centre like Hong Kong,' Mr Li said.