A JUDGE'S decision to scrap 'Draconian' anti-corruption laws was yesterday overturned by the Court of Appeal. The ruling, which means public servants can still be prosecuted for having funds and assets which they cannot explain, was welcomed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Deputy Commissioner Jim Buckle said: 'We are pleased with the judgment. Clearly, we agree with it. It is important legislation.' But retired Lands Department Surveyor Harry Hui Kin-hong, 50, who now faces trial, said he was 'surprised and disappointed' at the decision. He said he was considering taking the matter to the Privy Council. Hui was refused costs and faces a legal bill estimated at more than $1 million. He walked free from the District Court in December when Judge Muttrie ruled the charge he faced under Section 10 (1) (a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance was contrary to the Bill of Rights. But the former surveyor was re-arrested by the ICAC the next day pending an appeal by the Attorney-General. Hui is one of two defendants currently awaiting trial under Section 10. He faces an allegation of having an unexplained sum of $1.5 million passing through his bank accounts. In the other case, Buildings Department Assistant Director Clive Holgate faces similar charges. Fifty-one people have been prosecuted under Section 10 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance since 1973. There have been 32 convictions, including that of former Legal Department lawyer Warwick Reid. Yesterday the Court of Appeal said Judge Muttrie had been wrong to rule that the legislation was unlawful. Delivering the judgment, Mr Justice Bokhary said Section 10 had proved to be effective in the fight against corruption and also acted as an important deterrent. He accepted that this came at a price because there was a burden placed on defendants to provide an explanation for their extra funds and assets. This, said the judge, was a deviation from a person's right to be presumed innocent. But Mr Justice Bokhary said the law was 'dictated by necessity and goes no further than necessary'. He added that it was important to strike a balance between the need to combat corruption in Hong Kong and the protection of the rights of individuals. 'An acceptable balance which works in practice has to be found. That may not be easy to do. But it must be done if society is to be truly secure: both clean and free,' he added. As far as Section 10 is concerned 'the balance is right', said the judge. Mr Justice Bokhary stressed the danger to society which corruption represents. He said: 'Nobody in Hong Kong should be in any doubt as to the deadly and insidious nature of corruption. Still fresh is the memory of the days of rampant corruption before the advent of the ICAC in 1974.' The judgment was made by Mr Justice Bokhary, the Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang and Mr Justice Litton. They refused an application for costs by Hui's barrister, Adrian Huggins QC, saying they had no power to grant it. Hui's trial is to be re-listed at the District Court. 'This has all been a great strain on me. It has been hanging over my head since November 1993,' Hui said. During the appeal Solicitor-General Daniel Fung said the Draconian laws were necessary to combat the growing threat of corruption among civil servants in the run-up to the Chinese takeover in 1997. Such legislation 'must be the monkey on the back of every civil servant or judicial officer who has ever taken a bribe', he added. But Mr Huggins, opposing the appeal, said the law was 'startling' because of its unfair and unconstitutional nature.