THREE Hong Kong soldiers in a 10-man military expedition which went desperately wrong on Mount Kinabalu in East Malaysia earlier this year are expected to be vindicated by an official report due tomorrow. But the findings of the four-member board of inquiry will criticise expedition leader Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neill for allowing the team to split up. It will also recommend a General Officer Commanding commendation for Corporal Hugh Brittan, who helped lead out some members of the party and raise the alarm. Only a summary of the 100-page report, which took more than two months to compile, is likely to be made public. Evidence was given by all expedition members at formal sessions in York, England. The document will centre on recommendations for future adventure training expeditions and address the possibility of taking emergency equipment such as flares or radio beacons. Five members of the 10-man team were lost in the Borneo jungle for more than a month in March when their attempt to descend the treacherous 1,800-metre Low's Gully on Mount Kinabalu went terribly wrong. The team - made up of two British army officers and eight soldiers, three from Hong Kong - was reportedly troubled by quarrels and disagreements over standards of fitness. Two of the Hong Kong soldiers only learned to abseil a day before the descent at the Panar Laban resthouse close to the summit of the 4,101-metre mountain, the highest in Southeast Asia. Five members of the party became stuck with little food and no emergency provisions and were rescued days before the search by RAF mountain rescuers, British SAS and Malaysian troops was to be called off. Three members of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps - Lance-Corporal Kevin Cheung Yiu-keung and privates Victor Lam Wai-ki and Chow Wai-keung - were among the five trapped in the gully with Colonel Neill and Major Ronald Foster. They were accused at the time of a lack of fitness, but the report will show they were not to blame for the expedition's failure. Corporal Brittan, although initially outspoken about the ill-fated expedition, will receive his commendation for carrying a badly injured colleague, Lance-Corporal Peter Shearer, for nearly a week, and his maturity and leadership. Corporal Brittan and four colleagues went on ahead of the Hong Kong soldiers and the two officers after setting a quicker pace. Corporal Brittan's group of three made it to safety first with Corporal Shearer being carried after he was badly injured in a 20-metre fall. Corporal Brittan's commendation, and possibly one or two others, will also help focus on the positive side of what was essentially a disastrous episode for the military. The Hong Kong-based president of the board of inquiry, Colonel Mike Winarick, and Major Jim Noble, who is in charge of the territory's adventure training programme, spent two weeks in Borneo in May gathering evidence. Two of the Hong Kong soldiers, privates Lam and Chow, have taken redundancy from the corps and will leave the Army at the end of the year. They and Corporal Cheung are attached to the Royal Logistic Corp based at Blackdown Barracks. They were furious when Major Foster's expedition diary, published in a London newspaper for a reported GBP25,000 (HK$301,500), criticised their behaviour. However, all three have adhered to strict orders not to discuss the expedition until the report is published.