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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:06pm
NewsHong Kong
CORRUPTION

ICAC chiefs should be open to investigation, says Carrie Lam

As former anti-graft boss Timothy Tong stays silent over meals and gifts, chief secretary stresses all ICAC officers are bound by civil service rules

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 April, 2013, 9:05am
 

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Any ICAC officer who fails to strictly comply with civil service rules should face investigation, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday, amid a meals and gifts scandal engulfing the anti-graft agency.

Apparently targeting former commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming for the first time, Lam said that while the Independent Commission Against Corruption was independent of the government, its officers were bound by the rules on civil servants, which included the giving of gifts.

"If some individuals have done something contrary to these rules, there should be investigations into them," she said without naming anyone.

Lam also said the ICAC's system of regulating the giving of gifts by its officials may need to be reviewed. "Every system has room for improvement as public demands and social conditions change … every system has to be reviewed after a time," she said.

Tong spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public purse on gifts and lavish meals for mainland officials when he headed the ICAC from 2007 to 2012.

The convenor of the Executive Council, Lam Woon-kwong, said it was vital that ICAC commissioners set a good example, and he called on Tong - who has so far remained silent - to explain.

"The ICAC is the organisation that bears the cornerstone of Hong Kong's core value," Lam said. "The commissioner is not just the head of any organisation. [He] has a duty to uphold Hong Kong's corruption-free image."

Pressure also mounted on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to speak out. The chief executive appeared at a cleaning event at a wet market in Shek Tong Tsui yesterday, but repeatedly refused to comment on the ICAC matter.

The Legislative Council's public accounts committee will hold a hearing next month with a focus on general policies and spending, while the ICAC is expected to launch its own inquiry.

On RTHK's City Forum, barrister Stephen Char Shik-ngor, a former ICAC chief investigator, said: "I agree with [lawmaker] James To Kun-sun's view that Leung Chun-ying should immediately intervene. This is a responsibility that he cannot shirk.

"The Legislative Council should also invoke its special powers to investigate it as it would be difficult to find out the truth by only calling Mr Tong [to the legislature]. It would be unavoidable to require the testimony of ICAC colleagues by summoning them to testify [in Legco]. Otherwise, the truth would not surface."

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him urged Tong to "respond as soon as possible so that people can know the facts".

But Ip, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, stressed that it was not yet appropriate for Legco to invoke its special powers to question Tong.

Tong was appointed a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference after stepping down as ICAC commissioner last year.

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This article is now closed to comments

caractacus
This isn't only about spending too much dinner money, it is who the Commissioner was hobnobbing with, and why? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
shafinhk
Any investigation conducted will result in nothing but wastage of more public funds. Tong was not a child playing with toys. he was head of ICAC, he knew how to play with it.
i can guranteee at the end of the day any investigation will end up saying that he used all the funds which were within his discretion and therefore there is NO way to find his corrupt.
you guys better now stick to review rules and tighten your rules so in future no one can repeat the same.
John Adams
Dear Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor :
1. Please read what Shirley Yam so boldly and correctly wrote in her column on Saturday and the mountain of comments supporting her .
Please pass Shirley's open letter to our CE : CY Leung and persuade him to both to speak out strongly and take strong action
2. Please see the Harry cartoon in today's SCMP which was obliging attached to the end of the article about what you spoke in the on-line SCMP.
The cartoon is both hilarious and tragic.
Hilarious because it subtly expresses what almost every HK citizen now surely feels about the ICAC's leadership.
Tragic because the ICAC has been dealt a near-death blow as fatal as the Mainland's melamine scandal.
It will take the Mainland's milk industry decades to recover from the melamine scandal.
It may take the ICAC just as long to recover from this scandal
Tragic in the extreme !
Mr Timothy. Tong has a lot more to answer for at the court of public opinion than our ex- CE Donald. Tsang ever had to answer for..... unless we lay also the blame for this lapse in top level supervision at Donald Tsang's door because it happened under his watch.
hard times !
i just don't understand why up to this moment, the DAB (represented by one of its vice-chairmans,lawmaker Ip Kwok-him who is also the chairman of Security Affairs Committee of the Legco) still refuses to make use of the Power & Privileges Ordinance to summon Timothy Tong and his colleagues to the Legco to help the inquiry into the over-spendingof public money on lavish meals showered on visiting Mainland officials while Tong was the Commissioner of the graft-buster which main task is to combat corruptions and Tong himself should set a good example for others to follow ! The DAB owes an explanation to the public on its stance not to launch the Ordinance indeed ! Right ?
hkbulib2
God, this is just terribly stupid and ironic.
A few days before we believed that ICAC is 'cleanest' and the most trustable institution among hk departments, and its job is to investigate anyone who involves in corruption. Now we have to find another group of 'cleaner' people to investigate the 'cleanest'. Which means, there is not gonna have any contributive result. In the government's eyes, it is a good chance to revenge.
hard times !
Such corrupted officials (the former one in SAR administration under Sir Donald) like the awaiting-trial Rafael **** Sze-yan and now the former graft-buster, Timothy Tong Hin-ming have both been appointed a delegate to the Chinese People Political Consultative Conference: CPPCC after their retirement from the SAR government as an honour yet both turned out to be a shame or at least huge embarrassment to the prestigious organisation---the top advisory body on governance in China. Right ? What an irony it is indeed !
hard times !
Has this coward-****-corrupted former graft-buster reacted to his allegations ? Not yet. He just hides himself deep in his den (maybe at his girlfriend's home---------a luxurious flat somewhere in the territory) but soon he will be found out by the media ! Just wait and see when the facts will be disclosed and nothing but the facts !
hard times !
Come on,the self-proclaimed clean government of Leung Chun-ying whose close aide, Exco member,Cheung Chi-kwong said in his column in today's Oriental Daily that if invited to dine at your Government House,he could never have a feeling of fullness and the only gift he might get from you was/is some organic vegetables planted by you yourself only.Good ! Besides,now duirng meetings,only boiled water is served and not bottled distilled water as before. And he revealed that your top officials could only ride in Commercial class of airlines while paying external visits and no gifts received or offered.Even the bunch of flowers worn on the **** have been removed to save the environment and the public money.But why don't you take actions to set up a special committee as soon as possible to look into the case /scandal of Timothy Tong---the corrupted former Commissioner of the iCAC which image and reputation have been tarnished by his arrogance and greed plus waste of public money ?
Byebye
Corruption comes in many forms, and I am sure the authorities in ICAC are aware of them. Accountability? Bearing the consequences of the act? Please, too much talk already, time to act.
hard times !
Of course our chief executive should intervene immediately as it is his responsiblility that he can never shirk.To safeguard the good fame enjoyed by our trusted ICAC ever since 1974 and let Hongkongese have confidence in that institution,C.Y.should promptly set up a high-level special committee to investigate into the scandal of Timothy Tong and by doing so,C.Y.'s public image and his administration's popularity rating can be raised too.Why not do so ? Come on,C.Y.,you once said you hated corruption most and your late father (who was a cop in the British Colonial Police Force) was so clean (that he was sent to guard the Government House where you used to visit when you were a kid,right ?) that your mother (who has binded feet) and you had to bring plastic flowers home to make the ends meet. Now it is time to act !

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