ICAC's compliance with ordinance is questioned Hong Kong Journalists Association representatives vowed yesterday to seek an amendment to the law on search and seizure powers after emerging disappointed from meeting ICAC deputy commissioner Daniel Li Ming-chak over last weekend's raids on newspaper offices. They also said they did not believe the Independent Commission Against Corruption had complied with all legal requirements or had seriously considered the impact of the raids on freedom of the press. The raids were made in the course of investigating an alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after the publication of the name of a woman in the ICAC's witness protection programme. The association was one of three media groups that met Mr Li, who was the acting commissioner when the raids were carried out. Association representative Mak Hoi-wah said they were not satisfied with Mr Li's assertion that there was no other source of information for the case. 'We don't think they have totally complied with the legal requirements under Section 84 (1) [of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance] which requires them to exhaust all other avenues before applying for a search warrant or production order against a newspaper,' Ms Mak said. She said the association agreed there was a public interest requirement to protect witnesses, 'but we also ask if in the affidavit to the court, they took into account the importance of freedom of the press as an important cornerstone of the success of Hong Kong'. The association hopes to rally journalists to seek an amendment to the ordinance that grants what they perceive to be broad powers of search and seizure to law enforcement agencies. The News Executives Association also sought a review of the principles guiding the ICAC's decision, saying its actions had seriously affected important news-gathering operations of journalists. 'We have explained to [Mr Li] that the press is not above the law and that members of the press, if they have committed a crime, should be charged,' chairwoman May Chan Suk-mei said. Ms Chan said the group asked Mr Li to explain why such an action had been necessary and to disclose the details of the operation.