A SENIOR civil servant told the High Court yesterday how blackmailers tried to extort $12,000 from him after claiming they had a letter which would ruin his reputation and career. The victim, referred to only as Mr X, 46, said the two men used triad language to intimidate him in telephone calls taped by police. In one of the conversations, a blackmailer is heard telling Mr X: 'On behalf of my brothers, I wish to beg you for some money. 'That's because it so happens we sat together, became friends and did something. We have known one another for a while.' He later tells the civil servant: 'Maybe you don't remember or have forgotten the past.' But Mr X said he did not know the defendants Law Wan-sang and Wan Chor-kow, and knew no reason why anyone should blackmail him. He added: 'I don't think I've done anything shameful. I've not committed anything against the law.' Prosecutor Arthur Luk said the defendants first started threatening Mr X on November 25 last year, when they made a number of phone calls to his office in Admiralty. Mr X contacted police who tapped his phone. The civil servant arranged to meet the blackmailer outside a Cafe de Coral where he would hand over the money. It was agreed they would use the password 'good health' in order to recognise one another. The 'secretary' who accompanied Mr X was a policewoman and the money was marked with special fluorescent powder invisible to the naked eye. Plain-clothes officers swooped on Law, 35, as he counted out the notes. Mr Luk said the voice on the tapes belonged to Wan, 36, who was arrested nearby. In tapes played to the jury the blackmailer, using the name Mr Leung, is heard to say he has a letter from Mr X. The civil servant said Mr Leung asked for 'several tens of thousands' but later dropped his demand to $12,000. Mr X told the court: 'He said disclosure of the letter could damage my name and reputation. I asked what it was but he wouldn't elaborate. 'I found the telephone conversation very threatening because of the words they used and the tone they used. 'My acquaintances would never use that kind of vocabulary. My immediate reaction was that it might have some triad connection.' During the calls the blackmailer tells Mr X: 'We are both persons of the rivers and lakes' and 'worship the hall together'. The civil servant said he understood the expressions were triad phrases. He claimed the caller also referred to 'Lord Kwan Tai' - a god worshipped by triads. Law, a transport worker, and Wan, a decorator, deny blackmailing Mr X. The trial before Deputy Judge Wong continues today.