08 Nov 2012

Lunch meeting: Ex-Deputy Director of Operations of ICAC, Mr Francis Lee: "Fighting Corruption in the '70s and '80s"

We had new Member Induction today, PP George Li proposed Mr. Timothy Ng to be our new member and his classification was Biologist.  President Michael inducted Timothy with DAG Eric Chin..

Our speaker today was Mr. Francis Lee, Ex-Director of Operation of ICAC to talk about “The Good and Bad Old Days - Fighting Corruption in the 70s and 80s”.  Francis joined the Operations Department of the ICAC in December 1974 as an Investigator.  He served in all investigation branches of the Operations Department. He was promoted through the ranks, and when he retired from the ICAC in June, 2010, he was one of the two Deputy Directors of Operations, assuming the position of Director of Investigation (Private Sector).  He had overall responsibility for some 700 on-going investigations into corruption and related offences concerning the business sector. 

Hong Kong was in a state of rapid change in the 1960s and 70s. The massive growth in population and 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 meet the insatiable needs of the swelling population. This provided a fertile environment for the unscrupulous. Many people had to take the “backdoor route” simply to earn a living and secure other than basic services. “Tea money”, “black money”, “hell money” - whatever its name - became not only familiar to many Hong Kong people, but accepted with resignation as a necessary way of life.

Corruption had become a major social problem in Hong Kong, but the Government at the time seemed powerless to deal with it. The community’s patience was running thin and more and more people began to vent their anger on the Government’s futile attempts at tackling the problem.

In the wake of the Blair-Kerr reports, the then Governor Sir Murray MacLehose articulated for an independent anti-corruption organisation in a speech delivered to the Legislative Council in October 1973.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was established in February 1974. Since its inception, the Commission has been committed to fighting corruption using a three-pronged approach of law enforcement, prevention and education. The ICAC’s first important task was to bring Godber to justice. In early 1975, Godber was extradited 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 an unmistakable statement of ICAC’s determination and resolve to eradicate corruption. It was this landmark case that kicked off a new start against corruption and the beginning of a quiet revolution.

Francis showed us some promotional movie of ICAC for many years ago and told us some cases he handled before.

After the talk, we had the prize presentation of the Golf Tournament held on the morning.  We had total 21 Golfers joined the Tournament.  The winner was Rtn Alex of Rotary Club of Shouson Hill, the first runner up was Ms. Mia Wong, Rtn Rebecca’s sister, the second runner up was DDS Andy, also we had the prizes for birdies.  Golfers had the highest score was Rtn Carl and Rtn Erich also had prizes as a towel.

We collected HK$1760 for raffle and fines, Francis draw the raffle gift as a box of Chinese Cookies and the winner was DDS Andy.

RCHKS President Michael and speaker Mr. Francis Lee, Ex-Director of Operation of ICAC.

Induction of new RCHKS member Rtn Timothy Ng.

Rtn Alex of Rotary Club of Shouson Hill won the golf tournament.