More than one in three people expect the number of corruption cases to increase this year because of the continuing downturn, a survey has found. Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), also believed corruption reports would remain high due to the poor economy. In the annual ICAC survey conducted late last year, 36.8 per cent of the 1,504 respondents expected to see a rise in corruption cases. Of those, 87 per cent cited the economy as the reason. Last year, some 26 per cent of respondents thought corruption cases would rise. But just 6 per cent of those predicting a rise believed it would be linked to cases of graft on the mainland, compared with 47.8 per cent in 1997. The ICAC received 4,371 reports of corruption last year, a 2 per cent drop from 2001 and the first fall since the number of complaints dropped from 3,086 in 1996 to 3,057 the following year. Mr Lee said last year's record was, however, still a rise of 43 per cent over 1997. 'We expect the corruption figures to remain at a high level because of the economic downturn. But corruption in Hong Kong remains under control,' Mr Lee said. He added that the ICAC had uncovered a number of corruption and commercial fraud cases since the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997, with about 70 cases each involving more than $1 million. Mr Lee said that among the 397 people prosecuted in the private sector last year, 206 were managers, executives and professionals, compared with 225 of 371 in 2001. Mr Lee also revealed plans to set up a taskforce with police to ensure the village elections in July and August were clean and fair. He said police assistance was required as previous elections might have had triad involvement.