Hong Kong has finally caught its own tigers. The ICAC has often been accused of going after the small fry. But Rafael Hui Si-yan, the government's former No 2, and property tycoon Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong are as big as they come. The beleaguered Independent Commission Against Corruption has had to weather scandals and mounting political pressure in recent years. The conviction of Hui, Kwok and two other associates - and the substantial jail terms handed down yesterday - are a well-deserved vindication of its tenacious investigators. The court victory is a much-needed boost to ICAC morale. In paying tribute to the graft-buster, Mr Justice Andrew Macrae acknowledged yesterday it was the most complicated case he had ever presided over in his long career. The ICAC has long been an institutional pillar of Hong Kong's rule of law. But in recent years it has suffered setbacks. It came under a cloud as its former chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming was heavily criticised after being found to have repeatedly breached internal guidelines over his lavish spending on entertainment. But to be fair, the investigations into Hui and Kwok began under Tong's tenure. Meanwhile, pan-democratic politicians and their media allies such as Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Next Media have abused the ICAC's rules for reporting alleged crimes. The shameful tactic involves someone filing a complaint against a political enemy. As the ICAC has to open a file whether it merits further investigation or not, pan-democratic lawmakers and Next Media then report that person is facing a probe. Their most prominent victim was former executive councillor Franklin Lam Fan-keung, who had to resign from his post even though he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a flat sales probe. However, the pan-democrats cried foul and alleged political persecution when Lai and Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan faced ICAC probes over political funding. The lesson for these people is that you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Despite all the political storms and stresses, the ICAC has proved today it remains independent and indispensable.