Anti-graft agency the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has rescheduled an annual dinner after over 75 per cent of its staff said they would not be attending the event in response to a staff shakeup.

The dinner was initially scheduled to be held on Friday. An ICAC spokesperson confirmed to local media that, after taking into account the views of staff, the corruption watchdog’s recreation team has postponed the annual dinner to an undetermined date.

File photo: HKFP, Tom Grundy.

Apple Daily reported that a notice was sent out on Wednesday evening notifying staff of the news, but did not go into detail as to what the “views of the staff” were.

The move came after Rebecca Li Bo-lan, the acting Head of Operations at the watchdog, was recently removed from her acting position, and questions were raised over whether the decision was related to the Chief Executive’s HK$50m UGL payment controversy, which she was involved in investigating.

See also: Anti-graft agency rejects claims of restrictions in investigating Chief Executive

Li ultimately resigned, and principal investigator Dale Ko, who was considered a rising star at the agency, also tendered his resignation.

At a press conference earlier this week, ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu said that he alone made the decision to remove Li, and Chief Executive CY Leung also said that he was not involved. Morale at the ICAC is low following the incident involving Li, according to Apple Daily’s sources.

Rebecca Li Bo-lan. Photo: ICAC.

Former ICAC investigator Lam Cheuk-ting confirmed that many ICAC officers have informed managers that they will not be attending the dinner, which is the reason it was cancelled. “Staff at the ICAC – from front-line officers to those at the top level – are boycotting the dinner to show Simon Peh and the SAR government that they were displeased at Li’s removal from her position,” Lam said.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.