The ICAC has launched an investigation into the distribution of a controversial Apple Daily election supplement during December's Legislative Council by-election, the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs said yesterday. Speaking at a Legco panel on constitutional affairs, Stephen Lam Sui-lung confirmed the case had been transferred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption because it might involve election expenses. In response to a question by Beijing-friendly lawmaker Lau Kong-wah on whether a final result would be released before September's Legco elections, Mr Lam said he did not expect the ICAC to take too long to reach a conclusion. After the investigation, the Electoral Affairs Commission would issue new guidelines regarding the distribution of election supplements, the minister said. On December 2 the Chinese-language Apple Daily issued 500,000 election supplements headlined 'Mrs Chan at a critical state'. The move was criticised as a deliberate attempt to sway voters in Anson Chan Fang On-sang's favour. Lawmakers from the Beijing-friendly camp also criticised Mrs Chan for not including the supplement in her declaration of election expenses. But Mrs Chan, who won the election, said she was not behind the supplement and that it 'had nothing to do with me'. Pan-democratic legislators, meanwhile, questioned exit polls conducted during last year's district council elections and the Legco by-election. Speaking a day before the democrats were to meet Pang Kin-kee, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Mr Lam rejected their suggestions regarding the conduct of exit polls. Asked by the Democratic Party's Lee Wing-tat if the government would consider allowing only academic institutions from local universities to conduct exit polls on voters, Mr Lam said the limitation was not feasible as other groups were also capable of conducting the polls. The democrats want to make it a criminal offence to publish or broadcast the results of exit polls before the election is closed. But the minister disagreed. 'It cannot be handled by hasty legislation,' Mr Lam said.