• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 9:01am
NewsHong Kong
CORRUPTION

ICAC chief Simon Peh on defensive over drop in graft complaints

With critics suggesting confidence in agency down, Simon Peh sees no sign graft is on the rise

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 5:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 November, 2013, 5:03am

The head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption has sought to deflect criticism of the body after critics said a fall in the number of complaints over corruption indicated a lack on confidence in the agency.

Complaints to the graft-buster were down 35 per cent in the first 10 months from a year ago - 2,232 in the year to October. The critics said the fact former commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming is under criminal investigation for his lavish spending on receptions, gifts and duty visits while at the helm had affected confidence in the anti-graft body.

But ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu said and the fall was because Hongkongers were "more aware" of corruption.

"To a certain extent, the relatively large drop in the [number of] graft complaints shows that the public is more aware of corruption issues. It's achieved by [implementing] graft prevention measures in all walks of life," he said.

He said the graft-buster was conducting its annual opinion poll, which he hoped would provide a better picture of the ICAC's reputation by January.

"I hope to get a clearer analysis by early next year," Peh said. "Some people say it is good [to have fewer complaints] … some academics have suggested otherwise. But I think these comments lack foundation, so it will be better to analyse it after the poll."

Peh insisted there were no signs that the city was becoming more corrupt.

He also said the ICAC had set up a new internal audit unit that reports directly to him. The unit is part of improvements recommended by an independent review committee that was set up to investigate Tong's spending.

Dismissing talk that the ICAC has been dragging its heels on the investigations into Tong and former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Peh said both inquiries were progressing normally. "Every case varies in its level of complexity and the work we have to carry out," Peh said. "Some cases - for example, those involving gathering evidence from overseas - take longer."

The Legislative Council's Public Accounts Committee has also looked into Tong's spending.

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This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
pom...
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Sorry. I am not an entertainer. I write what I learn and sensed. I can’t entertain especially to the civil servants who are STILL not civil at all. So yawn you or they must when reading my posts in SCMP.
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The civil servants are outside of cage not inside. I must advise you to think outside the box or cage to understand Hong Kong. You don't get what you see and hear.
caractacus
"Peh insisted there were no signs that the city was becoming more corrupt."
How would he know, looking down from his ivory tower?
The general public happen to disagree, with many suspecting a massive increase in corruption at the TOP levels of our administration. Some appointed officials appear to regard themselves as above the law and have no inkling of the meaning of integrity or ethics.
The ICAC appears to be largely passive, relying on complainants giving them the evidence that proves a case of corruption, rather than being pro-active in seeking out and hunting down corruption. They should be investigating officials, real estate businesses and individuals in NGOs with influence and power to make decisions affecting land use and development in the New Territories. This will not be remedied while the Commissioner is recruited from the ranks of career civil servants instead of appointing an independent professional law enforcement officer with a proven record of ability and incorruptibility.
Too late now.
johnyuan
I agree that the public in Hong Kong is more aware about corruption as they are becoming more outspoken. Whether we have more corruptions are subject to how hard ICAC does their job. For the head of ICAC Peh to insist there were no signs that the city was becoming more corrupt only tells that the city is corrupt but not becoming more corrupt.  
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With exceptional high salaries by international standard for Hong Kong civil servants / government, Hong Kong justified them since the colonial days to prevent government corruption. As the high salaries couldn’t help sufficiently, ICAC a corruption watchdog was set up. The long passing of time, Hong Kong is wearing at the same time a belt and a pair of suspender in fighting against possible corruption among civil servants. What we see not corruption but collusion which circumvent the law against corruption. Indeed despite to the claim ‘clean government’, we see too often civil servants are without pants. Most of us have been ‘insensitized’.
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A much a do for everything and nothing. Only in Hong Kong.
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In my view, I will cut the salary of the civil servants in order to disinterest the fortune seekers so to make rooms for the civic-minded. And at the same time to beef up the ICAC with more manpower.
rpasea
I have yet to see a convincing argument as to why any govt department needs an entertainment budget. The role of govt is to provided needed services to the public, nothing more.
 
 
 
 
 

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