Corruption Doesn't Pay

Reviewed by: sukting

December 24, 2008

Rating: three-point-five

How long
20 episodes


It is about a few cases on ICAC, talking about their contributions to society. It goes through their procedures, high technology and how they fight crime with their latest instruments. Its mysterious department, TSD(TECHNICAL SERVICE DIVISION) finally shows its face to the world.


The first case involves cheating of insurance policies. The victims join Lee Yuk Ha (Mak Chui Han)’s travel company to get tricked. Bo Nai is protected as the chief witness by Wai Yan. Wai Yan’s boyfriend breaks up with her upon knowing her dangerous job. Bo Nai receives training to join ICAC to become their colleagues.

The second case involves illegal immigrants. Chung Lien is in a dilemma as she needs to report them. Ming and Wai Yan feel sorry for them as the woman, Suen Hung (Jeung Mun Duen) must be sent back. Hung refuses to leave as her husband’s life is in danger. She sneaks away and gives birth to a son on the way. Ming feels sorry as he still needs to send her back to the mainland.

The third case involves a complaint by criminals (Oi Wai and Wong Lap Fai) on ICAC using modern technology to tail them. They even get reporters to report this. Ming manages to find the evidence to land the culprits in jail for 4 years.

The fourth case is on a bank credit card fraud case as they keep getting bad debts. Someone fakes customers’ identities through promotions. Bo Nai suspects a university student, Stephen (Chung Hon Leung). Bo Nai pretends to apply for a card through a finance company. Her new neighbour and nemesis, Mun Hin is in charge and makes fun of her. She provokes Stephen’s girlfriend to get jealous of his other girlfriends and manages to get her to testify against Stephen in court.

The fifth involves illegal drug smuggling. Bo Nai and Wai Yan pretend to be professional gamblers to befriend an air-stewardess, Moon (Fung Hiu Mun). They pretend that Chung Lin is their eldest sister. She is forced to go undercover and can’t return home. Moon wants to check her home so luckily Ming finds an old hut for them. They are all asked to smuggle drugs and follows her way so that they will not be caught at the customs. Bo Nai finds Moon using a laptop to communicate with her buyers so Ming breaks the code.

The three return home safely as Ming finds evidence of Moon’s salary information which doesn’t tally with her bank account balance. Bo Nai and Mun Hin fall in love while Ming still goes steady with Wai Yan. Chung Lien isn’t that lucky as her importance is taken over by her son’s tuition teacher, Lai Yu (Chan Mui Hing). Her son, Baby is close to her while she also suspects Kar On of having an affair. Lai Yu resigns to avoid Kar On. Kar On asks her to be more rational. Chung Lien knows that her job affects her family so she resigns from the arms team to go to the clerical department to spend more time with her family.

Wai Yan goes to a ball and befriends Kei Cheung. Both of them take a photo and is shown I nteh newspaper. Ming and Wai Yan go for lunch and meet Kei Cheung. Kei Cheung jokes that he is secretly in love with Wai Yan for a long time. It is Wai Yan’s birthday and it seems that she is in love. The ICAC colleagues tail her and tease both when seeing her with their head.

Kei Cheung has not forgotten Wai Yan’s birthday all along and sends her favourite sweets. It is romantic and he also stays in Hong Kong to buy an apartment. He invites her to check out for him and brings her to work. It seems that he isn’t joking at all. Kok Piew asks Ming how he is going to deal with it as Kei Cheung sends in a birthday cake with two chocolate figurines on top. All nearly sprawl to the floor as Ming eats the male figurine – indicating that he has taken up the challenge.

The sixth’s case involves Mun Hin’s finance company. Dong Shing (Lee Chi Kei) wishes Mun Hin to doctorate the accounts as they run into financial difficulties but he rejects him. Later, 2 auditors are killed and the case is transferred to ICAC. Kei Cheung is the mastermind and gets his men to kill Dong Shing. Mun Hin is asked to assist ICAC. Dong Shing has sold his two houses in Toronto and the amount appears in Mun Hin’s bank account.

Bo Nai blames Mun Hin for being dishonest to keep her in the dark. She suggests a breakup impulsively. Ming’s ex-wfe, Crystal is back with Kar Kar to sign the divorce papers. They discuss over her custody and love rekindles for Crystal to discover that Ming has changed to a caring man now. She tells Wai Yan to leave Ming. Thus Wai Yan avoids Ming and is wooed by Kei Cheung.

Mun Hin’s life is in danger so Kok Piew sends him to stay in a remote house to be under their protection 24 hours a day. Bo Nai requests to be off the case but because of the lack in manpower, she is forced to face Mun Hin daily.

Chung Lien’s relationship with Kar On hasn’t improved as they sleep in separate rooms. She decides to resign to go on a family tour. Ming understands as he has gone through the whole process so he retains her position to tell her to go on a one month no-pay leave instead. Ming doesn’t understand why Wai Yan is suddenly cold to him. Crystal deliberately stalls time to avoid signing the divorce papers.

Crystal even attempts suicide to make him change his mind. Ming gets mad when Wai Yan deliberately accepts Kei Cheung’s date in front of him. As Kei Cheung is a prime suspect, Wai Yan reports their dating details to him as a subordinate the next day to make him enraged further.

The forensic test reveals that Kei Cheung’s clothes are the same as on Dong Shing. Ming learns that Wai Yan gets close to Kei Cheung just to get the evidence. He opposes this method as it is too dangerous but she thinks that he is jealous and still insists her way. She steals information from Kei Cheung’s computer but the whole thing is recorded on CCTV. Kei Cheung is disappointed that the woman he loves betrays him. He tests her again to find out that she is against him indeed.

Thus he frames her for accepting bribes and she has to stop all her duties. Kok Piew hates Kei Cheung’s men for setting Wai Yan up and beats him up. He hopes that they will help to clear her name. The whole team is in low spirits as Kei Cheung’s plan is too perfect.

As Kok Piew’s act to check on Kei Cheung is illegal, he is also accused of beating up and threatening witnesses. Thus he is forced to resign from ICAC to get back to the police force. He still looks for the missing witness, wanting to help Wai Yan. He is finally successful and Kei Cheung is on the run.

Kei Cheung places a bomb on Wai Yan after kidnapping her. Chung Lien learns of the news and shortens her leave. Bo Nai and Chung Lien manage to escape from the bomb at the door. The two find Wai Yan in the house and try to dispose the bomb. Kar On and Mun Hin wait anxiously, telling them that they will wait for them patiently to get out. Chung Lien finally manages to do it and all are saved. Ming naps Kei Cheung and the three couples are finally together.

Introduction on characters

1. Cheuk Ming – Lee Chi Hung
He is the head of the ICAC B team. Wise, understanding and also warm, his subordinates look up to him as their perfect model. They will never question his plans as he thinks of their best interest. His only regret in life is only having a failed marriage due to work. But that doesn’t deter him from getting true love from Wai Yan. Chi Hung might not look handsome but he is firm in stating his stand. That is why he shines as a superior and also wins the hearts of two women.

2. Zou Mun Hin – Fong Chung Shun
He is an auditor who stands by his principles. He may seem unlikable as he is hardly sweet at words but he is definitely a devoted lover.

3. Gan Kok Piew – Lee Shing Cheung
He hates people to lie to him. Although he is considered a senior in the team, he can’t curb his fiery and rebellious nature. That is why he gets into trouble and costs his job. Shing Cheung really shows his fire!

4. Kok Kar On – Tsang Wai Kuen
He is Chung Lien’s engineer husband who is neglected. He often attends parents’ meetings for Baby on her behalf and that is why he keeps coming to have close contacts with Lai Yu to fall for her. Luckily, he manages to step on the brakes on time to prevent wrecking his own marriage.

5. Baby – Wong Nok Yin
He is Chung Lien’s obedient son who is used to his mother not being at home. That is why he compares her to Lai Yu to make her decide to spend more time with her family.

6. Ng Lap Kwong – Yu Chan Shun
He is the person in ICAC who is smart in installing secret CCTVs.

7. Cheung Chi Kuen – Cheng Pak Lun
He is an experienced code breaker in ICAC. Nothing can stop him from breaking codes in computers.

8. Yu Kei Fong – Ho Ying Wai
He is an expert in cards so he is the first to distinguish the counterfeit from real ones.

9. Mah Kei Cheung – Cheung Kok Keung
This man is strongly obsessed with Wai Yan. Ming faces stiff opposition from this man – in love and also in napping him. When I see his face, I know he is up to no good again. So poor thing!!

10. Poon Tak – Cheung Ying Choy
He is Wai Yan’s father who is very worried over Wai Yan’s job and tries hard to keep it from the whole family. He shakes his head over her obstinate and rebellious nature although her face often appears on TV due to her achievements.

11. Poon Wai Yan – Tang Shui Mun
She is a career-minded woman who works too hard on her job. That is why her ex-boyfriend can’t take it. Although she is level-headed, she enjoys risking chances to put her life at stake. That is why Ming often has a close shave whenever seeing her so reckless. Sometimes, I feel that Ming deserves some better as she constantly breaks his heart. With her short hairstyle, Shui Mun looks every inch a capable woman and she acts convincingly well.

12. Kam Bo Nai – Kwan Wing Ho
She is a greenhorn who just joins ICAC but I find her faring better than Wai Yan. She thinks of new ways to improve her investigation methods. She is also careful to complete all her assignments. I like her better than Wai Yan. I must say that Wing Ho looks very refreshed here with her short hairstyle. Her teaming with Chung Shun is also close to perfection.

13. Chi Chung Lien – Sheung Tin Ngor
She is the ‘See Nai’ in the team as she cares for her team’s welfare. She teaches Bo Nai the ropes and is glad that she adapts well. However, she is in trouble when her marriage nearly breaks up because of work. Her willingness to sacrifice for her family moves Kar On and he encourages her to return to her team. Tin Ngor is competent in the role, as usual.

14. Crystal – Mah Ching Yee
She is Ming’s ex-wife who is extremely annoying. She keeps showing her face at his workplace, thinking that she is still his wife. Using Kar Kar to make Ming stay with her is another stupid ploy as his heart is no longer with her. Luckily, she wakes up soon to divorce him so that he can be with Wai Yan.

15. Cheuk Kar Kar – Ou Nok Ching
Ming dotes on this only daughter. She is also attached to him although they have not met for a long time. Her mother’s suicide attempt frightens her so Ming has to spend a long time to calm her down.

Favourite character
Ming, he is simply too nice. He also shows empathy to some who break the law unwillingly.

Most hated character
Crystal for ruining Ming’s chance to be together with Wai Yan. A close second is Kei Cheung for the same reason.

It is ‘Outstanding Women’ by Pang Ling .A fast paced song which is very related to the story. She is a good singer and it is a pity that she doesn’t sing now.


TVB shoots ICAC dramas well – this one is one typical example. The cast are on their feet all the way to provide a spectacular performance to become a closely knitted team. It also shows how hard ICAC officers balance their work and private lives. The story is well developed with the assistance from ICAC. This is one of the must-watch dramas that I strongly recommend to others.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On songs : **** (Scale of 5)

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