Corruption reports rose in the first 10 months of the year as a result of the economic downturn, with most of them coming from the private sector, according to the ICAC. Independent Commission Against Corruption Commissioner Alan Lai Nin said yesterday it was not surprising to see more cases surfacing. The commission received 3,681 corruption reports up to the end of last month, three per cent more than in the same period last year. Cases involving public bodies rose 31 per cent, from 216 to 282. PCCW-HKT topped the number of complaints in this category with 57 cases, 84 per cent more than for the same period last year. The ICAC classifies such big service companies as public bodies. PCCW was followed by the Hospital Authority with 51 cases and the Hong Kong Jockey Club with 22. But nearly half the reports involving these two bodies were not pursuable, the commission said, without giving details. Mr Lai said most of the increase in overall corruption reports involved private companies, which constituted about 60 per cent of all reports. The ICAC received 2,101 cases involving the private sector in the first 10 months of the year, eight per cent more than the corresponding period last year. 'It's not surprising. When there is an economic recession, normally we get more cases reported to us,' Mr Lai said. When the economy was flat, bosses might study why their companies were running at a loss and find their staff had been involved in corrupt practices. He said the increase might also be related to reports against employers from sacked staff of companies that had closed. There were 1,298 corruption reports involving government departments, a drop of seven per cent. Mr Lai commented on the figures after a conference on information technology and ethics organised by the ICAC, the Information Technology Services Department and 13 other related groups and chambers of commerce. Police reported a drop in the number of computer crimes this year - from 368 in the first 10 months last year to 217 this year. Among recent cases was that of a senior labour official who hacked into his department's Web site in mid-September and allegedly wrote bad language, wiped it out and restored the system. He has been arrested for alleged criminal damage and released on bail. Police Chief Inspector Francis Chan Wing-on said the official was among hackers who attacked a computer system without knowing their acts constituted a criminal offence. 'He did not intend to cause damage,' he said.