Confidence in the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has again been shaken with the reappointment of seven people in defiance of the government's own time limit for such postings, human rights and women's groups said yesterday. They urged the government to explain why seven commission board members who had already served for six years or more had been reappointed, despite the six-year limit advocated by the Home Affairs Bureau in its review of the structure of statutory bodies. The groups had earlier voiced concern that some board members had failed to demonstrate commitment to equal opportunities and were involved in the controversy surrounding the resignation of former commission chairman Michael Wong Kin-chow and his sacking of operations director Patrick Yu Chung-yin. The Civil Human Rights Front and Women's Coalition also said that by asking for nominations to the commission, the government had given the false impression that new faces would be appointed to the 15-member board. A government spokesman yesterday said the reappointments were intended to facilitate the work of an independent panel of inquiry into incidents relating to the commission. The members to be reappointed for a one-year term include Raymond Wu Wai-yung, who was involved in a secret meeting with Home Affairs Bureau chief Patrick Ho Chi-ping and Mr Wong on the eve of Mr Wong's resignation in November. Dr Wu yesterday said he would focus on working towards tackling the commission's cases through mediation rather than legal action. 'I doubt how many statutory bodies do follow this six-year rule,' he said. Conservative women's rights advocate Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja, who once defended Mr Wong's actions, was also reappointed. Both Mrs Lam and Dr Wu have been on the board since 1996.