Fewer people see the Independent Commission Against Corruption as impartial than a year earlier, and more say it has abused its powers, a poll has found. But the majority still believes the graft watchdog is acting appropriately and there is growing confidence that the level of corruption in Hong Kong is falling. In the opinion survey, conducted late last year for the ICAC, just under 71 per cent of respondents felt it was impartial in its investigations, compared with more than 75 per cent two years earlier. A random sample of 1,500 citizens was polled. The survey results released yesterday also showed more than 17 per cent believed the ICAC had abused its powers, compared with just 5.5 per cent who thought it had in 2003. Respondents also overwhelmingly backed the ICAC's powers, although the number of people who believe they were inappropriate has leaped in a year, from 1.6 per cent in 2003 to 6 per cent. This coincided with a spate of incidents last year, including the ICAC's controversial raids on seven newspaper offices. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents considered that corruption was uncommon in Hong Kong, the highest percentage recorded in the past three years. About 70 per cent felt corruption would decrease or remain steady in the next 12 months. 'While the economic downturn in the past few years might have made people apprehensive about the threat of corruption, they have become more optimistic about the situation under improved economic conditions,' an ICAC spokesman said.