Another search for a solicitor-general has been proposed, almost two years after Daniel Fung Wah-kin, SC, quit to return to private practice. Lawmakers were told in a government paper that Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie made the proposal two months ago as the restructuring of the Justice Department's legal policy division neared completion. Under Miss Leung's proposal, 'an open recruitment exercise' will be conducted. Those already in the department will also be considered. The post has been vacant since September 1, 1998. The proposal is subject to approval from the Civil Service Bureau and Finance Bureau, as part of government moves to reduce the size of the civil service. A similar recruitment exercise was launched in July 1998, when 10 applications, from in-service candidates and private practitioners, were received. A selection board made a recommendation to the Civil Service Bureau in October. It is understood Miss Leung recommended National People's Congress local deputy Carson Wen Ka-shuen to fill the post, but the appointment was said to have been blocked by Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang on the grounds that Mr Wen was not suitable. In June last year, Mr Wen, former vice-chairman of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, withdrew from the race on 'personal grounds' amid strong criticism from the democratic camp and the legal profession. The post has been filled on an acting basis by Bob Allcock.