Graft-busters exchange tips in fight against corruption

Officers from around the world congregate at annual exchange programme organised by ICAC

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 5:23am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 5:23am

Bringing bribery offenders to justice has its peculiarities in a small country such as Bhutan, where just about everyone knows everyone else.

That was one of the insights graft-busters from around the world heard at an anti-corruption course in Hong Kong.

The comments came from a graft investigator in the Himalayan country during a four-week course organised by the Independent Commission Against Corruption that ended today.

"Over the past few weeks, our Bhutanese counterpart has been telling us about how careful their graft-busters have to be when handling potential conflicts of interest, because it is not uncommon for them to have to investigate someone they know personally," Stella Leung, the ICAC's assistant director for training and development, said yesterday.

Leung was an organiser of the programme, which this year saw 33 law enforcement officers, including 20 locals, exchange anti-corruption strategies and management skills.

The ICAC hosted participants from Australia, France, Indonesia Malaysia, Singapore and the United States; four were from mainland China and Macau.

The agency arranged a one-week trip to Tianjin that featured a visit to the People's Procuratorate, or prosecution office, to give the programme participants an overview of the graft-fighting mechanism employed on the mainland.

A dozen people from other fields were invited to speak during the course. They included Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing and Jockey Club chairman Brian Stevenson.

"Some of the cases that the ICAC has investigated, the way their officers conduct their interviews, and how they make full use of technology and teamwork to conduct their investigations - these are some areas in which I feel Singapore can learn a lot from Hong Kong," David Lee Choon Khiang, a principal investigator from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore, said.

The course started out as part of internal training for ICAC officers 33 years ago and evolved into an international platform to share anti-corruption strategies.

Some 340 ICAC chief inspectors, 100 officers from other law enforcement agencies and 180 overseas officers have attended the course over the years.