ONE OF THE major reasons for Hong Kong's success as an international business centre is the high standards of integrity that prevail throughout all levels of our city. As the principal guardian of this important virtue, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) enjoys a high standing in the public's opinion. Many young people aspire to work there, attracted by its worthy mission and upright image. 'To cope with an increasing number of complicated cases and new challenges, we will be recruiting more than 30 officers across varied ranks in the coming months, and this recruiting spree will be an ongoing activity until all available vacancies are filled,' said Lewis Tam, ICAC senior press officer. Besides advertising these positions on its website, the ICAC participated in last week's Education & Career Expo. It previously took part in 1999. To attract prospective employees, the organisation set up an attractive booth and held a seminar in which officers from the ICAC's three main departments talked about their work experience. One of these officers was Aman Chee Ming-hin, a chief investigator with the Operations Department responsible for the ICAC's investigative work. Before joining the commission 10 years ago, Mr Chee was working in the aviation sector, where he had a stable job with good career prospects. When he decided to quit that job to join the ICAC, there was 'all-round objection' from his family and friends. 'It was before the 1997 handover and they were worried that it might be politically sensitive to work for the ICAC,' Mr Chee said. 'But I had just completed a law degree and wanted to use my knowledge for a meaningful cause. When I heard that the ICAC was recruiting staff, I felt a strong sense of mission driving me to make this career switch.' Looking back, Mr Chee is glad he took the plunge. He enjoys his challenging work and is proud of the ICAC's professionalism. 'Because of globalisation, the business and social environments have become more complicated, meaning we have to be even more alert to possible malpractices, including illegal cross-border activities,' he said. 'It is necessary to have a multidiscipline team at the ICAC and our officers are trained in many different areas, ranging from engineering, law, architecture, to criminology and business, to name just a few. This gives us a comprehensive pool of knowledge to adequately tackle the challenges we face.' One such specialist is Edmond Law Wai-hung, who joined last year as an assignment officer with the Corruption Prevention Department, responsible for providing corruption prevention advice and assistance to government and private sector organisations. Mr Law holds bachelor's and master's qualifications in law and criminology respectively and is working on a master's degree in public administration. Like Mr Chee, he was attracted by the commission's meaningful and challenging work. 'I felt that I would be able to contribute to the community, which was more meaningful than working in the private sector,' said Mr Law, who specialises in helping government departments detect and plug corruption loopholes in their procedures and practices. 'This is very demanding on our analytical and problem-solving abilities. We also need to have good common sense, knowledge of current affairs and, above all, strong drive and commitment to our mission.' The fact that Mr Law and his other junior peer, Vivian Ip Wai-man, received strong support from their families and friends when they joined the ICAC is evidence of the increasing public recognition of the commission's contribution to society. Ms Ip joined the commission in 2005 and is an assistant officer with the Community Relations Department responsible for anti-corruption education. She said she had wanted to work at the ICAC as a student, and was pleased to be able to make use of her university training in English in her job. 'The ICAC lives fully up to my original expectations of it as a smart and professional team,' she said. 'As my job exposes me to people from all walks of life, ranging from ordinary citizens to corporate CEOs, I have to have broad and up-to-date knowledge of the community and current affairs. 'I also have to present myself well, and be resourceful when communicating with different people.' In line with its high professional standards, the ICAC implements a strict system of checks and balances, whereby officers are required to maintain confidentiality of their cases from each other. However, when the departments are required to work together, they work in dedicated co-operation. 'Our tasks require us to work with strong persistence and perseverance because corruption cases can take a long time to break,' Mr Chee said. 'Sometimes our efforts may come to nothing and it is important that we never give up. The strong team spirit we have here helps very much in this respect.'