DISGRACED former government lawyer Warwick Reid wants to return to Hong Kong and is hoping the new regime after 1997 will not stand in his way. Mr Reid, who was deported last November after serving almost five years' imprisonment in Hong Kong, said from New Zealand yesterday that he had been converted to Christianity since his return. 'The deportation order is for life and unless things change after 1997, I cannot come back,' said Mr Reid, who received bribes of $12.4 million from people who believed he could influence their prosecutions. 'But the answer is I would like to come back. We will have to see how things are when the old regime is no longer in place. 'I have been attending church regularly. I'm not sure what a born-again Christian is, but I am a Christian.' The uncovering of Mr Reid's corruption when he was one of the Government's top lawyers triggered a chain of events, investigations and prosecutions which shocked the territory. His decision to give the Crown evidence against others in return for a reduced sentence resulted in him being held in protective custody following threats to his life. Even his release nine weeks ago involved an armed escort in a helicopter, which whisked him from jail to Kai Tak airport. 'I'm still alive and there have been no threats to my safety,' he said from the North Island town of Tauranga, where he is living with his wife and children. 'I have mixed feelings about staying in Tauranga because it is harder to find employment here, but the family does not wish to leave. 'We have to move out of our home next month because the Hong Kong Government requires us to give vacant possession at the end of March. They are paying my wife NZ$130,000 [about HK$644,000] and we are looking at putting that down on another house in Tauranga to put a roof over our heads.' The money will be paid as part of a settlement struck with the Crown Solicitor, Ian Wingfield. All outstanding money Mr Reid corruptly received has flowed into government coffers since his release. Mr Reid, who confirmed he had spent some time in Asia pursuing 'work and social opportunities' since being freed, said he was now looking for a job. The New Zealand Law Society has taken steps to prevent him practising as a lawyer. He said he still hoped to repair a deep rift with his brother, Tauranga lawyer Michael Reid, whom he believes told authorities of his corruption. He said his brother is being treated in a nearby psychiatric ward. The Reverend Stewart Hanna, of the Otumoetai Baptist Church, said: 'Warwick has made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to be counted in our church, and I am certain that he is dedicated and genuine about it.' A senior Independent Commission Against Corruption officer said Mr Reid's movements outside New Zealand were of no concern to authorities - unless he tried to return to Hong Kong.