Cold turkey was on the menu for Hong Kong's biggest-ever corruption catch - Rafael Hui Si-yan - as he spent Christmas with recovering drug addicts in the hospital wing of the jail during his first week behind bars. Former government No 2 Hui - the most senior city official ever jailed for corruption and a man more accustomed to the finer things in life - has endured a miserable introduction to incarceration, according to sources close both to him and the Correctional Services Department. The man who ran former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's re-election campaign - and who Tsang says played a key role in saving the city from the worst ravages of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s - had to ask for more blankets to shield him from the cold in a jail sick bay. The three-storey hospital unit in the Lai Chi Kok facility where Hui, 66, spent Christmas week is known to house convicted drug addicts whose incarceration forces them to go cold turkey - an expression used to describe the abject misery of heroin withdrawal. Hui, who used to be known as the "King of Strategies'', shared a roughly 50 square foot cell with childhood friend Francis Kwan Hung-sang, adjacent to a similarly barren room, which held property tycoon Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and his former aide Thomas Chan Kui-yuen. All four men were convicted earlier this month following a marathon corruption trial that shed light on collusion between the city's business and political elites, giving the Independent Commission Against Corruption the most significant success in its more than 40-year history. Following their conviction on December 19, the quartet spent a week in the Lai Chi Kok centre, before being transferred to the maximum security Stanley prison yesterday. The Lai Chi Kok facility has a good reputation by prison standards, with inmates receiving frequent doctor visits and adequate medical treatment, according to a social worker who is familiar with the building. Correctional services staff in the unit are all fully trained nurses, who often have to treat serious wounds and sores found on drug abusers, the social worker said. Their stay in the facility would have offered the four felons a modicum of privacy unknown among the centre's general population, although cell mates are forced to share an open toilet. It would also have given Hui during the first days of a 7.5-year sentence for taking bribes in office access to any needed medical treatment. The former chief secretary has long been dogged by reports of illness and is known to take traditional Chinese medicine. "It is not uncommon for the block to hold special inmates who have special concerns. In this case, they probably wanted the four held together," said a source close to the Correctional Services Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity.