Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Reported Graft Cases in HK up 18%

ICAC's committee chairmen, Chow Chung-kong and Maria Tam Wai-chu
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) reports a surge in corruption complaints last year, 18 percent more at 2,798.

Among the complaints (all of which were not election-related), 1,831 were against the private sector, a 22 percent jump, from 2014; those against the public sector increased 15 percent to 200, and those against government departments was up 11 percent to 767 cases at 221.

The watchdog's advisory committee on corruption claimed the surge was due to the increased trust in the ICAC and more public service announcements on urging residents to report graft.

Former ICAC head Timothy Tong's investigation is ongoing
"I don't think we need to go into too much interpretation because of the past few years, corruption-related complaints ranged from 2,100 to 4,000," said committee chairman Chow Chung-kong.

"When we judge the situation of corruption in Hong Kong, we should look at the comprehensive set of factors, such as the nature of the complaints and the success rate in prosecutions."

Chow stressed that corruption had not worsened, and was under control.

He instead hit out at politicians for publicizing cases they reported to the ICAC, which may have given the public the impression that the watchdog had become a political tool.

However, last year, 213 people were convicted for corruption, a 24 percent increase.

How can Chow say that corruption has not gotten more severe compared to last year?

In addition, there is still the case of the ICAC's own former head, Timothy Tong Hin-ming, who has been alleged to have spent public money excessively. The investigation has been going on for three years without any sign of an end in sight.

"With regard to the time required for the investigation, it depends on many factors," Chow said.

What kind of vague statement is this?

If anything the ICAC should be the most critical of all public institutions, not be afraid to be blunt, especially when it comes to people or organizations that break the law. To say that Tong's case is still ongoing shows how things are moving so slowly and no one wants to take responsibility for it.

How can people have faith in the ICAC when it seems to be sidestepping its core values?

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