Recent WikiLeaks documents reveal Hong Kong’s graft-busting agency was interested in commercial hacking software and emailed its Italy-based maker for a demonstration, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
Simon Tse Yiu-keung was the principal investigator from the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) who took part in the leaked email conversation, the report said.
He contacted the Singapore branch of Hacking Team for a Galileo demo session, the documents show.
Galileo is marketed as a remote-control hacking suite for governments that wish to access computers and mobile devices running on all platforms.
Tse first sent an email on June 11, 2014, asking about the possibility of visiting the firm’s Singapore office that August for an introduction to the spyware and a demonstration of the system.
The company agreed and offered to host a three-hour session.
The leaked email chain ended with both parties in the middle of setting the final meeting date in Singapore.
It is uncertain if such a meeting took place and whether the ICAC eventually bought the spyware.
The ICAC confirmed the identity of Tse as shown in the leaked emails, the newspaper said.
However, the antigraft agency refused to comment on whether it has been in touch with the hacking firm or whether the spyware has been acquired.
The ICAC stressed that it will keep improving its ability to investigate corruption, including using the latest technology.
It gave an assurance that all interceptions and covert monitoring operations are done in compliance with the relevant legislation.
Charles Mok Nai-kwong, legislator for the information technology sector, expressed concern about whether law enforcement officers have been using such spyware against Hongkongers and thereby invading their privacy.
Mok demanded further explanation from the ICAC.
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