Simon Peh Yun-lu, Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), announced that acting head of operations Ricky Yau Shu-chun has been officially promoted to the post and appointed deputy commissioner as well, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The appointment, which took effect immediately, has been approved by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Peh said.
Yau, 53, who holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Hong Kong and a master of science degree in public sector management from Britain’s Aston University, joined the anti-graft agency in 1994 as an investigator. He was promoted to assistant director in 2007 and was appointed director of investigation in 2014.
Among the people Yau had helped to convict were Chan Kau-tai, a former chief building services engineer of the Housing Department who was found guilty of accepting HK$3 million in bribes, and Tse Sui-luen, founder of Tse Sui Luen Jewellery (International) Limited, who was sentenced to jail for offering illegal kickbacks to travel agents.
In his announcement on Monday, Peh said he is confident the ICAC Operations Department will continue to uphold professionalism and effectiveness in the fight against corruption under Yau’s leadership.
Peh did not elaborate on why Yau was promoted as the agency gazetted just last month that Yau’s term as acting chief investigator had been extended to mid-October.
Nonetheless, the new personnel arrangement was recognized by lawmakers from both pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps as they consider Yau the right person to lead the department.
The agency has been under fire since July 2016, when Rebecca Li Bo-lan, then acting head of its Operations Department, abruptly left office for unknown reasons and was succeeded by Yau soon afterwards.
The fact that Yau had not been officially appointed head of the department for more than two years until now raised concerns that the agency’s operations might be negatively affected.
Lam admitted to lawmakers last month that she had spoken to Peh about better handling the management of personnel and maintaining the turnover so as to make sure the ICAC can run smoothly.
Daniel Li Ming-chak, a former operations chief at the ICAC, told a radio program on Monday that he could not figure out why it took two years to let Yau officially take over the department.
Li also urged the ICAC to work towards gaining the public’s support and trust since there has been much criticism against the ICAC’s performance in recent years.
He also said Yau should act more proactively in terms of investigation.
Calling Yau’s promotion a very late decision, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, who is also a former ICAC investigator, criticized Peh for failing to explain why the post had been left vacant for so long. He urged Peh to step down.
Lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan from the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who chairs the Legislative Council’s Panel on Security, said putting a senior official in an acting position for an extended period of time does not affect the ICAC’s operations.
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