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Corruption in China

First woman to lead ICAC’s Operations Department is replaced in major shake-up at Hong Kong’s anti-corruption body

Thirty-year graft-buster Rebecca Li Bo-lan to leave organisation just one year after taking up top investigative job

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2016, 12:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2016, 10:23am

The more than three decade crime-fighting career of Hong Kong’s most senior anti-corruption investigator has come to an abrupt end – less than a year after she was appointed to the top job.

In a matter-of-fact statement released on Thursday night, the commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Simon Peh Yun-lu, announced that Rebecca Li Bo-lan, the acting head of the commission’s powerful investigative unit – the Operations Department – was being replaced at the top of the internationally respected anti-corruption body.

While paying tribute to Li for her “dedicated service in the ICAC and remarkable contribution to the fight against corruption”, Peh offered no explanation for her departure, simply stating the 53 year old “will proceed on final leave on July 18”.

The move confirmed a report in Thursday’s South China Morning Post that Li was on her way out.

Hong Kong anti-graft high-flyer Rebecca Li set to be moved

She became the first woman to lead the Operations Department in the ICAC’s 41-year history when she took over, in an acting capacity, from retired graft fighter Ryan Wong Sai-chiu on July 17 last year. Her job also carried the title of deputy commissioner.

It was a second first for Li, who in 2000 became the first ICAC officer to be sent for special training with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The statement said Director of Investigation (Private Sector) Ricky Yau Shu-chun, 51, would take over as acting head of operations when Li leaves.

The shake-up means Choi Shu-keung, now an assistant director of operations, will act as director of investigation (private sector) after Yau’s appointment.

Acting Director of Community Relations Raymond Ng Kwok-ming has been promoted to director of community relations with effect from June 13.

Rita Liaw Lily, now an assistant director of community relations, will act as director of corruption prevention with effect from July 18 when incumbent Director of Corruption Prevention Tse Man-shing will commence his pre­-retirement leave.

The Operations Department is the investigative arm of the ICAC and its largest department, with a staff of more than 800 people.

Li joined the ICAC in 1984 as an assistant investigation officer in the Operations Department.