After payout, witness seeks ICAC apology

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am

An undercover operative who became a protected witness for the Independent Commission Against Corruption then had his identity revealed in court is demanding an apology from the graft-buster.

The man, identifying himself only as Rock Seven, says the HK$350,000 compensation he received was not enough to give him back his dignity and he wants an apology from the ICAC commissioner or the officer who he says promised him his name would be kept secret.

He said yesterday that a decade ago, while working in an industry vulnerable to involvement in money-laundering, he began a dangerous eight-month stint undercover for the ICAC. 'The evidence collection was more risky than what you see in movies,' he said. 'I had to live in secret houses offered by the ICAC and feared that my life could be threatened any time.'

In fact, he says, it almost was - his home was set on fire in the middle of the night. 'Without my dog's bark alerting me I could have died.'

When he was asked to give evidence in 2006, he says, he urged ICAC principal investigator Eric Yang Yan-tak to keep his identity secret.

'Yang promised me my identity would not be revealed,' he said. 'But the defendant's lawyer gave out my personal particulars in court. The prosecutor did not take any action to bar the information, so my name, background and photo all appeared in newspapers the next day.'

After years of depression brought on by fears of revenge he sought compensation and in 2008 was awarded HK$350,000, after rejecting an earlier offer of HK$320,000. 'I do not care how much they are compensating me now. I want an apology from Yang or the ICAC commissioner to recover my dignity,' he said.

An ICAC spokesman said the ICAC Complaints Committee had already agreed the complaint against the officer was not substantiated after an internal investigation. He said the complaint had been handled fairly.