The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is to replace acting Head of Operations Rebecca Li Bo-lan with current Director of Investigation (Private Sector) Ricky Yau Shu-chun, according local media reports. Yau will reportedly assume the post on July 18.

Li was appointed the female acting Head of Operations almost a year ago after Ryan Wong Sai-chiu, the former Head of Operations, left the post. She was known for solving several significant cases throughout her career.

Rebecca Li Bo-lan. Photo: ICAC.

Her reported replacement is a controversial choice. Sources cited by Ming Pao said that, while he was the assistant director at the Community Relations Department, Yau was involved in approving expenses for former commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming, who was accused of claiming lavish expenses on food and gifts.

Unusual move

Stephen Char Shik-ngor, former lawyer for chief investigators, told Apple Daily that “unless Rebecca Li made huge mistakes, there would not be a change.”

Tong Hin-ming. File

Apple Daily cited a source which said that the change was due to the central government’s distrust in Li because she had trained in the United States with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The newspaper also reported that “the central government was not satisfied that the ICAC did not enthusiastically investigate and charge [suspects] in many cases,” and that Li had only lukewarm relationships with Chinese officials.

Sing Tao Daily and Ming Pao also both reported ICAC staff were shocked at news of the switch.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.