Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Corruption is not good for society. For some people they might say, small corruption is ok lah...other wise how to get things done? Recently i heard that in order to get drawing plans (buildings) approved by certain agency...all you need is money.

IGP have pledge to get rid of this menace (when his contract was extended) and i hope (i am sure a lot of people also hope) that he will fulfilled his promise. Just like our PM promised during the last GE.

Any way, the most famous anti corruption agency in the world (i think ) is from Hong Kong. It was created because corruption had gotten out of hand during the 60's and 70's in the Island.



The Independent Commission Against Corruption was set up in 1974. Since its inception, the Commission adopts a three-pronged approach of investigation, prevention and education to fight corruption. With the support of the Government and the community, Hong Kong has now become one of the least corrupt places in the world.

But how serious was the problem of corruption in Hong Kong before the ICAC was established? What was the reason for setting up an independent body to fight graft? Let us now take a look at the history of the setting up of the ICAC.

Hong Kong was in a state of rapid change in the sixties and seventies. The massive growth in population and the fast expansion of the manufacturing industry accelerated the pace of social and economic development. The Government, while maintaining social order and delivering the bare essentials in housing and other services, was unable to satisfy the insatiable needs of the exploding population.

This provided a fertile environment for the unscrupulous. In order to earn a living and secure the services which they needed the public was forced to adopt the "backdoor route". "Tea money", "black money", "hell money" - whatever the phrase - became not only well-known to many Hong Kong people, but accepted with resignation as a necessary evil.

At that time, the problem of corruption was very serious in the public sector. Vivid examples included ambulance attendants demanding tea money before picking up a sick person and firemen soliciting water money before they would turn on the hoses to put out a fire.

Even hospital amahs asked for "tips" before they gave patients a bedpan or a glass of water. Offering bribes to the right officials was also necessary for the application of public housing, schooling and other public services. Corruption was particularly serious in the Police Force. Corrupt police officers covered up vice, gambling and drug activities. Social law and order was under threat. Many in the community had fallen victims to corruption. And yet, they swallowed their anger.

Corruption had no doubt become a major social problem in Hong Kong. But the Government seemed powerless to deal with it. The community patience was running thin and more and more people began to express their anger at the Government's lukewarm attitude towards tackling the problem.

In the early seventies, a new and potent force of public opinion emerged. People pressed incessantly for the Government to take decisive action to fight graft. Public resentment escalated to new heights when a corrupt expatriate police officer under investigation succeeded in fleeing Hong Kong. The case provided the straw that broke the camel's back.

Controlling assets of over HK$4.3 million, Peter Godber, a Chief Police Superintendent, was under investigation in 1973. It was suspected that his unearned wealth had been obtained from corrupt means. But Godber managed to slip out of the territory undetected during the week given to him by the Attorney General to explain the source of his assets.

Godber's escape unleashed a public outcry. Students spearheaded a mass rally in Victoria Park, protesting and condemning the Government for failing to tackle the corruption problem. Demanding prompt government action, protesters with slogans like "Fight Corruption, Arrest Godber" insisted that Godber be extradited to stand trial.

The Government had to respond. Following Godber's escape on June 8, 1973, Sir Alastair Blair-Kerr, a Senior Puisne Judge, was appointed to form a Commission of Inquiry to look into Godber's escape. He compiled two reports. The first on the circumstances of Godber's escape.

And in his Second Report, Sir Alastair pointed out clearly that "responsible bodies generally feel that the public will never be convinced that Government really intends to fight corruption unless the Anti-Corruption Office is separated from the Police..."Following fast on the heels of the Blair-Kerr Report, the then Governor, Sir Murray MacLehose (later Lord), argued for an independent anti-corruption organization in a speech delivered to the Legislative Council in October 1973.

Sir Murray said, "I think the situation calls for an organization, led by men of high rank and status, which can devote its whole time to the eradication of this evil; a further and conclusive argument is that public confidence is very much involved.

Clearly the public would have more confidence in a unit that is entirely independent, and separate from any department of the Government, including the Police."Many in the community would say that they felt the wind of change at this time. They started to see the Government setting the stage for fighting corruption.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established in February 1974. Since its inception, the Commission has been committed to fighting corruption with the three-pronged approach of investigation, prevention and education. The first important task of the Commission was to bring Godber to justice.

In early 1975, Godber was extradicted from England to stand trial. The charges were a conspiracy offence and one of accepting bribes. Godber was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. Godber's extradition and prosecution were demonstrative of the ICAC's determination and resolution to eradicate corruption. It was this landmark case that kicked off a quiet revolution - a new start against corruption.

Mission Statement

We aim to:

*Pursue the corrupt through effective detection, investigation and prosecution;

*Eliminate opportunities for corruption by introducing corruption resistant practices; and

*Educate the public on the evils of corruption and foster their support in fighting corruption.

Major areas of work carried out by the ICAC in fighting corruption in 2005 are detailed in the 2006 Annual Report (in pdf file). You are most welcome to have sight of it and let us know your comments.


Three-pronged Attack

To win the battle against corruption, the ICAC, right from its inception, has adopted a unique strategy to fight graft on three fronts:


*Prevention; and


The three-pronged attack was vital to develop a new public consciousness. For it was recognised that prevention was as important as the deterrent of prosecution, and the battle against corruption could only be won by changing people's attitude towards corruption. The strategy has proved effective and remains the ICAC's guiding principle today.


The three-pronged approach is embodied in the Commission's three Departments of Operations, Corruption Prevention and Community Relations.

Operations Department receives, considers and investigates alleged corruption offences.

Corruption Prevention Department examines practices and procedures of government departments and public bodes to reduce corruption opportunities and offers corruption prevention advice to private organizations upon request.

Community Relations Department educates the public against the evils of corruption and enlists public support in combating corruption.

Serviced by a central Administration Branch, the three departments are interdependent. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, each department capitalizes and builds on the performance of the others.

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