Retired ICAC officers urge public to show support for besieged agency in open letter

This follows the turmoil involving controversial personnel changes at the top

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 9:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

Retired officers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption have called on the public to show support for the anti-graft agency’s work, and also to have confidence in the current management despite the recent controversies over personnel changes at the top.

In an open letter, the ICAC Retired Officers Association expressed concern that recent speculations over personnel incidents could have a “serious” impact on the agency’s reputation and credibility.

In the letter, the association praised the ICAC for having a good track record and added “the majority of people do have confidence that the agency is operating in an absolutely independent manner”.

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“The [public] confidence [in ICAC] will not be shaken by individual incidents,” the open letter read.

This marked a rare move from the association, showing that former officers are willing to weigh in on the controversy involving their former employer.

In 2013, the association also issued a statement calling on the public to support the ICAC’s work amid worries that the agency might be used as a political tool against dissidents.

Association vice-chairman Raymond Chow Hing-yip, formerly with the agency’s community relations department, said: “We think we have a duty to show support for our ICAC colleagues.”

“We have full confidence that they will stand united and contribute to society without being affected by the speculations or criticisms from outside.”

The ICAC has in recent weeks been plagued by a series of personnel problems at the top, which saw turmoil turn to farce.

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On July 29, the agency announced that Ricky Yau Shu-chun, the acting head of its powerful investigative arm – the Operations Department – was quitting. But within a matter of hours, it announced that Yau had withdrawn his resignation.

This followed the departure of the agency’s first female head of operations, Rebecca Li Bo-lan, last month, amid rumours of soft-pedaling in a probe into a controversial HK$50 million deal between Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Australian engineering firm UGL.

Critics said the crisis was undermining the ICAC’s credibility and even Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu’s leadership ability.