Five officers stand accused of protecting brothel keepers Five police officers accused of protecting and tipping off vice-den operators were among 20 people arrested in a joint operation by the ICAC and the police yesterday. The 17 men and three women caught in 'Operation Thunder Peal' included a detective sergeant, a detective senior constable and three detective constables, as well as several alleged triad members and vice-den chiefs. An ICAC spokesman said four of the five arrested officers were alleged to have accepted advantages from the triad suspects for protecting their illegal activities, while the fifth allegedly warned a defendant about a police prosecution. One of the detective constables arrested was also alleged to have accepted bribes from the operators of two vice dens in Mongkok for providing tip-offs about anti-vice raids and retrieving personal data from police computers. 'Also arrested in the operation were two suspected members of a triad society, two of their associates, one operator and five keepers of two vice establishments and two [mainland] women holding two-way permits,' the spokesman said. An ICAC source said the arrested officers were suspected of receiving bribes ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on several occasions from alleged members of the Wo Shing Wo triad gang in exchange for protecting vice dens in Mongkok, Kowloon City and Hunghom. During the operation, seven people were arrested by the ICAC and three by officers of the Kowloon West regional headquarters in relation to an investigation into alleged perversion of the course of justice. The ICAC said the Immigration Department had helped in the arrest of the two mainland women suspected of having breached their conditions of stay. About 60 ICAC officers were involved in the operation, which began on Tuesday. Last month, two sergeants were arrested by the ICAC for allegedly providing tip-offs about raids on vice dens in Mongkok. In the course of that operation - codenamed Sunbird - four suspected operators and five brothel keepers, as well as 10 women, were arrested. The detained women were three Vietnamese passport holders and seven holders of mainland two-way permits. Investigation of the case arose from information provided by the police and members of the public that unidentified police officers might have been offering assistance to brothel operators in the Mongkok area. The anti-graft watchdog alleged the two sergeants had accepted monthly payments from a number of operators and keepers of vice establishments in the district in return for providing information on possible police enforcement action.