Hong Kong's favourite corruption-swooping body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), was not always the slick troop it is today. Annie Dennis, of Scenic Villas in Pokfulam, told me about the time she had to help them on an operation in 1981. The mission: catch pharmacists selling prescription sleeping tablets over the counter. Annie was hired as a stooge, and went into a succession of shops, asking for tablets. A highly trained officer lurked in the shadows outside, ready to pounce if she was successful. Eventually, she found a shop in Tsim Sha Tsui which sold her the illicit substances, and she marched out of the shop, triumphant. There was nobody there. The law enforcer had vanished. She wandered around for a while, and then bumped into the man. Annie felt a bit of a heel as she re-entered the shop and pointed to the shopkeeper, who simply shrugged. The three of them then climbed into the ICAC van, and headed for the police station. Unfortunately, the driver got completely lost. Soon neither he nor the ICAC officer knew where on earth they were. However, their prisoner was good at geography, and ended up directing the driver to the police station, where he was duly arrested and charged. I can just imagine the conversation. 'You turn down this road, and park the van in the police car par, on the left. Then you march me through those big doors and turn into the corridor on the left, where you throw me into the cells.' 'Mm goi .' [Thanks.] 'Mm sai .' [Don't mention it.] A reader in Boyce Road got a letter from Hong Kong and China Gas Co. 'Dear Sir/ Madam, your gas bill will be deducted automatically from your designated bank account number with effect from gas bill dated 024281039542 onwards.' What's going on? Is Towngas using a 'star date' calendar from Star Trek these days? Headline from Xinhua (the New China News Agency) on the Taiwan election results: 'Furthering relations across Taiwan Strait constitutes greatest popular feeling.' Liberal Party senior honcho Allen Lee Peng-fei was quoted in yesterday's paper, talking about a fellow Legco member: 'Perhaps he was afraid of being criticised for making a U-turn. What's wrong with a U-turn?' It's not a question anyone else can answer, since Mr Lee is the universally acknowledged expert on the subject. Preparatory Committee member Frederick Fung Kin-kee has been banned from the bodies which will govern Hong Kong, despite being told he had the right to vote any way he wanted. He can amuse himself mulling over the words of Hollywood's Sam Goldwyn: 'I don't want to be surrounded by yes-men. I want you to tell me the truth, even if it costs you your jobs.' A banker of Tai Hang Drive named Manju points out that as soon as I mocked the Wellknown Property Co for being unknown, it became well-known. 'I now know about it, you know about it, and so do all the readers.' Tricky one, that. In the news section of yesterday's newspaper: 'World No 1 tennis star Thomas Muster and the Duchess of York are having an affair, the News of the World said yesterday.' In the sports section we had the edifying: 'Muster still seeks maiden win.' Angela Jones spotted a man talking on a mobile telephone on an MTR carriage in Mongkok on Saturday. The carriage was suddenly filled with the sound of more ringing from his bag. Yes. Someone was calling on his second line. Now there's a man who takes keeping in touch seriously. In several towns in China, mobile phones and car phones (which you can buy) are more common than ordinary phones (which you have to get from the authorities). People there leave this message on their car phones: 'I can't take your call because I am at home. But I'll return it as soon as I go out.' Residents who moan about the hazardous industrial buildings in Tsing Yi may be interested in this from US columnist Ann Landers: 'A couple had a farm in a rural area where they raised goats, chickens and rabbits. They also had a rooster. In time, the land around them was sold to developers who built homes. This couple did not sell their farm but continued to live there for many years. Of course, the rooster crowed early in the morning, as usual. 'After a while, the neighbours complained and brought a class-action suit against the man. The judge replied: 'Your rooster was there first. The complaining neighbours moved into his territory. Case dismissed'.'