Graft-busters have arrested 53 people over an alleged bribery ring in the catering industry. The Independent Commission Against Corruption said the 53, who included 46 chefs and a purchasing manager of various restaurants, bars and recreational clubs, had been arrested for allegedly offering and accepting bribes over purchase orders of frozen meat and vegetables. The chefs and the purchasing manager were employees or former workers from 25 restaurants serving western, Japanese or Vietnamese food, seven bars, four recreational clubs and a hotel, a spokesman for the ICAC said. A source close to the investigation said the arrests included people working in the popular Central nightspot Lan Kwai Fong and the Tsim Sha Tsui area. Two shareholder-directors, a shareholder, an accountant and a salesman from a frozen meat supplier as well as an operator of a vegetable supplier were also arrested. The ICAC said investigations indicated one of the arrested shareholder-directors, with assistance from four colleagues, had offered bribes to chefs as rewards for orders or to expedite payments. The commission alleged that regular bribes, ranging from several thousand dollars to more than HK$10,000, were paid to the chefs. Investigations also found the operator of the vegetable supplier had allegedly offered bribes to one of the arrested chefs for orders. The spokesman said the arrests were made in an operation code-named Barracuda which started last Wednesday, adding the probe arose from a complaint alleging corruption in the catering industry. All the arrested had been released on bail, the spokesman said, and investigations were continuing. ICAC Commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming said in February the catering and entertainment services sectors attracted 188 complaints last year. Most involved corrupt dealings between purchasing staff of restaurants and food suppliers.