Saturday, April 30, 2011 Rising star of ICAC arrested in graft probe



Rising star of ICAC arrested in graft probe

Colleagues of senior investigator in shock

Phyllis Tsang and Niall Fraser
Updated on Apr 30, 2011

A top ICAC investigator - widely recognised as a rising star in the anti-graft organisation - has been arrested by his own colleagues and is facing accusations of corruption.

Shocked colleagues in the Independent Commission Against Corruption have expressed disbelief at the arrest of principal investigator Raymond Yuen, who heads the commission's B group, which investigates public sector corruption.

Last night a commission spokesman confirmed that a principal investigator was arrested on Wednesday by L group, the ICAC's internal investigations unit, on suspicion of "breaching the law". The statement did not name the officer.

However, people familiar with the investigation identified the officer as Yuen. They also said that the law breach referred to in the commission statement involved allegations of corruption.

"The ICAC attaches utmost importance to the conduct of its staff and expects the highest standard of integrity from them," a commission spokesman said.

"The commission will not tolerate any violation of the law and breach of internal discipline. Should any staff misconduct himself/herself, the matter will be dealt with in strict accordance with the law and laid down procedures."

Yuen, who is in his 40s, is the youngest graft-buster to be promoted to principal investigator in the commission's history. It was unclear last night if he was still being held or had been granted bail. He has been suspended from duty.

He joined the commission in 1998, was promoted to principal investigator in 2007 and has been involved in many high-profile corruption investigations. Yuen earns about HK$90,000 a month.

Among his most notable investigations were those of former lawmaker Gary Cheng Kai-nam and Chan Kau-tai, the corrupt former housing official and father of Canto-pop star Eason Chan Yik-shun. He has also investigated an array of graft scandals involving public housing.

Last night a former colleague said: "This comes as a huge surprise. He is the youngest and brightest principal investigator in the organisation.

"He rose through the ranks at great speed and is a very talented, switched-on guy."

Yuen attended the ICAC's chief investigators command course in 2004 and was sent to the senior executive fellows programme at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2006.

In a media interview in 2007 on the 10th anniversary of the handover Yuen, who is married, said he was proud to be an ICAC investigator and talked about the difficulties of investigating corruption.

Investigations into ICAC officers are often carried out by the police, but when an accusation of corruption is made the commission has a legal obligation to investigate it.

In November, police arrested three commission officers on suspicion of perverting the course of justice during an unprecedented raid on the ICAC's headquarters in North Point. The three investigators are accused of coaching witnesses.

Yuen is the highest-ranking member of staff to be investigated by the ICAC in 20 years.

In 1994 former deputy director of operations Alex Tsui Ka-kit was sacked by the commission amid allegations of triad links.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, chairman of the Legislative Council's security panel, said: "This could be one of the most serious cases of misconduct by an ICAC officer in its history."

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