Unusual move: Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog invites lawmakers to headquarters

Independent Commission Against Corruption claims visit, ahead of the start of new Legco term, aims to ‘foster better mutual understanding and communications’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 6:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 8:48pm

In a rare gesture, all 70 members of the new Legislative Council have been invited to visit the city’s anti-graft watchdog and meet its chief before the new council term starts next month.

Veteran pan-democrat Leung Yiu-chung, who has been a lawmaker for 20 years, said it was the first time that such a meeting was held before the start of a Legco term.

Leung believes that it could be partly because some of his allies were involved in controversies regarding declarations of interest. In June, Independent Commission Against Corruption investigators arrested League of Social Democrats legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung over an undeclared HK$250,000 payment from media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.

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According to a picture posted on Facebook by Democratic Party lawmaker-elect Lam Cheuk-ting, lawmakers received a letter from ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu, inviting them to visit the ICAC’s headquarters on September 23.

“We are organising this activity to introduce our anti-corruption laws and latest strategies to the new term of lawmakers ... On that day, the commission’s departmental chiefs and myself will host a meeting, a tour of the building, and a dialogue with other director-rank officers,” the letter reads.

A spokesman for the ICAC said: “Inviting all members of the new-term Legco to visit the ICAC aims to foster better mutual understanding and communications. Moreover, they can be briefed of the latest development of the commission’s anti-corruption work.”

Twenty-six out of the 70 lawmakers in the next term are newcomers.

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Lam, a former ICAC investigator, said the meeting would be unrelated to the interest-declaration saga. “It is just a PR event, but I will go because many of my supporters want me to ask Peh about the commission’s controversies,” Lam told the Post.

He was referring to a crisis triggered by the removal of Rebecca Li Bo-lan as acting head of the anti-corruption agency’s powerful investigative unit.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has distanced himself from the affair, amid speculation that Li was removed over an investigation into his receipt of HK$50 million from Australian firm UGL.

Leung Yiu-chung told the Post that he will not attend the meeting because there is “no need”.