Martin Lee accuses sacked commission deputy of testimony trickery

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 July, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 July, 1994, 12:00am

SACKED Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) deputy operations director Alex Tsui Ka-kit used Legislative Councillors as sources in corruption investigations, it emerged yesterday.

Addressing legislators on the sixth day of their historic security panel hearings into his sacking, Mr Tsui said information from contacts among lawmakers, no matter how casual, would have been logged.

''I have discussed possible corruption with a lot of people, including people from this council, and when I went back I would have to produce a report,'' Mr Tsui told members, without mentioning names.

When asked about how different grades of sources were treated, he said: ''Say for an example a Legislative Councillor approached me and would like to give me some information, in principle I need to open a file.'' The details emerged as Mr Tsui faced a grilling from panel members as he sought to distinguish between the treatment of ''casual contacts'' and ''informers''.

Mr Tsui insists he saw his Boxing Association counterpart Henfrey Tin as a casual contact, not an informer, and therefore only had to log information as he heard it.

ICAC Commissioner Bertrand de Speville has said one of the reasons he sacked Mr Tsui was for his refusal to treat Mr Tin as an informant, instead building up a friendship outside the reach of the commission's files.

Called to elaborate on the situation yesterday, Mr Tsui remained adamant: ''From the beginning to the end, Mr Tin was a casual contact . . . the instructions only govern informers.'' The ICAC has furnished members with confidential operational papers showing that for informers all contacts must be logged and handled in a strictly secure manner.

However, in what is building up to be a crucial point for future hearings, former operations director Graham Stockwell wrote to Mr Tsui in 1986 telling him to open an ''informants'' file for his own protection.

Mr Tsui yesterday maintained there were differences, but several legislators, including United Democrat (UDHK) chief Martin Lee Chu-ming, accused Mr Tsui of ''trickery''.

''You were told to open an informers file for your own protection. I don't think we should be splitting hairs,'' Mr Lee said. ''I think you are trying to be tricky with words.'' The panel decided to write to Mr de Speville to seek written replies on the distinction between an informer and an informant.

Panel chairman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said that both Mr de Speville and operations director Jim Buckle had made references to the word ''informants'' in previous hearings.

The fact that senior officials had made repeated references to ''informants'' meant that there should be an official definition of the word, Mrs Chow said.

Mr Tsui said Mr Stockwell might have confused informant with ''informer'' as stated in the ICAC operations standing orders in the 1986 letter.

He said informers were seen as undesirable, providing information for favours and Mr Tin would have ''turned him down flat'' had he been asked to become one.

Mr Tin was never fingerprinted, no contract was entered into nor was his name entered in a central registry as it should have been if he had been an informer, he said.

Mr Tsui said he was instrumental in drawing up the new procedures now being scrutinised by the panel, following controversy surrounding a case where a drug dealer was used to give information against police in a case headed by now operations director Jim Buckle.