In a surprise turn of events, a top official at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has withdrawn his request to terminate his contract.

The new decision by Acting Head of Operations Ricky Yau Shu-chun was announced by the ICAC about three hours after his departure was made public on Friday.

A spokesperson for the ICAC said Yau withdrew his application “after staff members of the Operations Department expressed profound wishes for him to remain in office and after having considered the overall interest of the Commission.”

Ricky Yau Shu-chun. File /HKFP.

His request to stay was approved by Simon Peh Yun-lu, the commissioner of the agency, who, “all along, has requested Mr. Yau to stay,” according the spokesperson.

Ricky Yu Chun-cheong, the Director of Investigation (Government Sector) who was appointed to Yau’s position, will stay in his position.

Former Assistant Director of Operations Ricky Chu Man-kin who was appointed to Yu’s position will be appointed as the Director of Investigation (Private Sector).

The events came after the recent departure of three top officials at the agency, namely former Acting Head of Operations Rebecca Li Bo-lan, Principal Investigator Dale Ko, and Chief Forensic Accountant Tang Shuk-nei.

Rebecca Li and Dale Ko.

Li, a highly respected figure, was removed from the acting head of operations post earlier in July. Li subsequently resigned on July 18 and Yau was appointed to the position.

Questions were raised about whether the decision was related to investigations into the Chief Executive’s HK$50m UGL payment controversy, which Li had been investigating.

Peh said after the incident that Li was removed because she did not meet the requirements of the position. He also said that he alone made the decision to remove Li from her position, and no one else had interfered in the process. CY Leung denied that he was involved in the decision.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.