Graft investigators abused their power and behaved oppressively when interviewing a man accused of illegal bookmaking, a magistrate said yesterday. The case against Lau Wing-chi, 49, collapsed when Magistrate James Lee Chung-yin ruled in Eastern Court that the Independent Commission Against Corruption's (ICAC's) interviews of the accused were inadmissible. Mr Lau had pleaded not guilty. Magistrate Mr Lee said the investigators furnished Mr Lau with suggested answers to their questions, conducted their first interview in the middle of the night and asked few questions about the alleged offence on which Mr Lau had been cautioned. He said chief investigator Wong Yiu-chung 'should know very clearly that the way he conducted the interviews could not be accepted in any court'. Mr Lau was accused of conspiring with his younger brother, Lau Wing-kun, 42, to engage in illegal betting on soccer games. He was first interviewed at 2.42am on June 11 last year, and the questions dealt '99.9 per cent' with Mr Lau's knowledge of the brother's activities. 'If that was the line of questioning adopted, I do not see the reason why it was done in the middle of the night,' Mr Lee said. 'If all the ICAC wanted to ask him was about his knowledge of his brother's activities, I can't see why they would have to hold him overnight. This is the clearest case of the ICAC abusing their powers.' Mr Lau was not released until after a second interview the next day. 'We can see the whole time Mr Wong was trying to get the defendant to agree that he knew that his brother was running this illegal gambling,' Mr Lee said. 'He tried very hard, even by suggesting answers for the defendant.' Mr Lee, who viewed videotapes of the interviews, said investigators adopted this approach of suggesting answers 'on too many occasions'. Mr Wong put forward questions which 'assumed that the defendant had knowledge of his brother running the illegal business'. 'This is an oppressive practice of creating and assuming that there's an obvious offence,' Mr Lee said. 'Asking the defendant to comment on this offence, that has just been created and assumed, is not right.' Prosecutor Boey Chung offered no further evidence against Mr Lau after Mr Lee threw out the statements as evidence. Mr Lau, who worked for Hang Seng Bank as an assistant branch manager, was cleared of dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence and assisting in illegal bookmaking. Mr Lee awarded the accused costs. Mr Lau had transferred $216,100 from the account of his brother, a former footballer, to that of one Chow Wai-ming on May 18 last year. After his arrest, Mr Lau quit his job at the bank where he had worked for 25 years. His brother was not on trial yesterday.