The allegations surrounding former ICAC head Timothy Tong Hin-ming have not only cast a shadow over the integrity of the anti-graft body, they have also tarnished core values long cherished by Hong Kong people.
These - as stated in every chief executive policy address - include respect for human rights, the rule of law, transparent government, tolerance of different viewpoints and press freedom.
These values have enabled our society to overcome some tough challenges. They have also helped Hong Kong to thrive under the one-country-two-systems principle. Many people believe that transparent government and an honest business environment have made Hong Kong an outstanding Asian city.
The ICAC was an agency specifically built to stop corruption and restore public confidence. It still has an obligation to these ideals.
The ICAC is also a good example to China of how an anti-corruption agency can work successfully.
Therefore, as a Hong Kong citizen, I am very disapponted and concerned by recent reports alleging Tong spent excessive sums of public money to entertain mainland officials.
If Tong has indeed abused his power and overspent public money, he has hurt the ICAC's 40-year reputation. People now realise that even the ICAC is not beyond reproach.
And what kind of standards will ICAC staffers uphold - if a former leader behaved like this? Is the ICAC still capable of maintaining its integrity and fairness?
We all know the anti-graft body was set up in 1974 and has achieved a lot since then. But sadly, the ICAC’s original ideals have now been compromised by bureaucracy and lax attitudes.
it is time the government took a closer look at the agency and tried to rebuild its reputation. We cannot afford to allow something like this to happen again.