SCMP Monday, September 3, 2001


Banker in ICAC case plunges to his death

MARCAL JOANILHO

A top executive of the Citic Ka Wah Bank who was under investigation by the ICAC last night plunged to his death in Quarry Bay - apparently becoming the third person to commit suicide in five months after being interviewed by the anti-graft body.
The body of Zhang Mingqian, 38, was found on a first-floor podium at Kornhill Gardens shortly after 7pm.
Police said Zhang apparently jumped from his 29th-floor flat, leaving a suicide note saying working in Hong Kong had forced him to take his own life.
A friend who rushed to the scene after learning of Zhang's death said he and several other friends had spent the afternoon comforting him over the investigation.
An Independent Commission Against Corruption spokesman last night confirmed that Zhang was arrested in May in connection with a corruption and fraud case. However, he refused to disclose whether the case involved the Citic Ka Wah Bank. The spokesman added that the case had been referred to the ICAC by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
Zhang was last year listed as the bank's executive vice-president.
The ICAC spokesman also confirmed that Zhang had been interrogated by ICAC officers after his arrest and that he had been released on bail.
Zhang's friend, who declined to be named, said Zhang had been "very unhappy and worried" after the arrest.
He and other friends had taken Zhang out for a drink to comfort him yesterday afternoon, but Zhang left them around 6pm saying he needed to get some medicine from home. He said he would join them for dinner.
His body was found an hour later.
Zhang had been posted to Hong Kong from the mainland.
In March, Leung Moon-hok, 49, leapt to his death in Yuen Long, two days after being interviewed by ICAC officers.
Leung was one of the witnesses who helped the ICAC investigate a corruption complaint against a defeated candidate in the district council election in Yuen Long in 1999. Leung was a member of the candidate's canvassing team and had been invited to an ICAC interview two days before his death.
In early March, construction worker Leung Cho-choi, 46, leapt to his death in Tuen Mun, two days after being quizzed by ICAC officers over a piling scandal at a housing project in Tin Shui Wai.
An inquest into his death concluded last month that the ICAC should not allow officers involved in an investigation to accompany suspects home.