Jack Cater

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Jack Cater
Jack Cater.jpeg
Chief Secretary of Hong Kong
In office
3 October 1978 – 19 November 1981
GovernorMurray MacLehose
Preceded byDenys Roberts
Succeeded byPhilip Haddon-Cave
1st Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption
In office
15 February 1974 – 3 July 1978
GovernorMurray MacLehose
Succeeded byDonald Luddington
Personal details
Born(1922-02-21)21 February 1922
London, United Kingdom
Died14 April 2006(2006-04-14) (aged 84)

Sir Jack Cater, KBE, JP (Chinese: 姬達爵士; 21 February 1922 – 14 April 2006) was the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong from 1978 to 1981.[1] Cater was the third Chief Secretary under the Governorship of Sir Murray MacLehose, later Lord MacLehose of Beoch. He is probably most noted for his role as the founding Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong.



Cater served in Royal Air Force fighter squadrons during the World War II. Cater arrived in Hong Kong to work with the British military jurisdiction after the japanese surrender. Cater began his career of civil service in 1946 as a cadet officer in the Fisheries Department, and was made Director of Agriculture and Fisheries in 1964. In 1966 Cater attended the Imperial Defence College in London.[2] He was appointed by then Governor David Trench to lead the team that restored peace and security following the riots in 1967. He became Defence Secretary and Special Assistant to Governor David Trench during the civil unrest in 1967, and subsequently served as deputy Colonial Secretariat (1967-68), Executive Director of the newly established Trade Development Council (1968-70), Director of Commerce and Industry (1970-72), Secretary for Information (1972-73) and the Secretary for Home Affairs in 1973.

Cater was instrumental in establishing schools in all of Hong Kong's fishing villages.

In February 1974, he was delighted to accept appointment to the first Commissionership of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by Murray MacLehose following the flight of Police Superintendent Peter Godber, who was under investigation at the time regarding several million pounds stashed in Vancouver banks.[2] His widow later revealed that Cater considered at one point leaving the government. She said:

Cater was widely respected and much liked in Hong Kong for the way in which he brought the fledgling ICAC to the point where it became strong enough to survive the attacks of vested interests, and of its many enemies both within and without the government. As a result of Cater's vital early direction, the ICAC was able to grow into a body which presided over the (almost total) eradication of corruption, both official (Governmental) and elsewhere, in Hong Kong.

From 1981 to 1984, Cater became Hong Kong's Commissioner in London. Afterwards, he joined China Light & Power Co., and became the head of Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Co, a nuclear power station venture at Daya Bay in Guangdong province. He was also a consultant to Bechtel, a US engineering contractor, and Philips.[2]

In 1995, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Laws) by the University of Bath.[4]


Sir Cater was born on 21 February 1922, son of a London policeman.[5]

Before his civil service career, he was an airman.[6]

Married to Peggy in 1950. The couple lived most of their life together in Hong Kong, until the late 1990s. They had three children: Susan, Jacqueline and Richard.

Sir Jack and Lady Cater returned to Britain, and settled on Guernsey in the Channel Islands in 2001. Cater suffered from Alzheimer's disease during the final few years of his life. He died in Guernsey on 14 April 2006, aged 84.

A memorial was held for him in Hong Kong at the St. John's Cathedral on 21 October 2006, attended by many senior officials and prominent figures, inter alia Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, Run Run Shaw, David Akers-Jones, former Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey, as well as Raymond Wong and Lily Yam, respectively the then current Commissioner and a former Commissioner of the ICAC.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Appreciation by CE at memorial service for Sir Jack Cater". The Government of Hong Kong SAR:News Archives. HK SAR Government. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Sir Jack Cater". The Telegraph. 20 Apr 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  3. ^ Lee, Klaudia (22 Oct 2006), "Cater was ready to quit over graft, says widow.", South China Morning Post
  4. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". bath.ac.uk. University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b Tsang, Donald (21 October 2006). Appreciation by CE (Speech). Memorial service for Sir Jack Cater. St John's Cathedral, Hong Kong. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  6. ^ Hutcheon, Robin (5 May 2006). "Sir Jack Cater". The Independent. Retrieved 10 May 2017. If lifting the lid on a corrupt colonial administration had been Jack Cater's only claim to fame during his 40-year stint with the Hong Kong Government, that would be a crowning achievement for a young airman posted there in days when it appeared to have a very limited future.
  • South China Morning Post, 22 October 2006 "In memory of HK's 'knight in shining armour' " (Page 3)
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Donald Luddington
Secretary for Home Affairs
Succeeded by
Dennis Bray
Preceded by
Sir Denys Roberts
Chief Secretary of Hong Kong
1978 – 1981
Succeeded by
Sir Charles Philip Haddon-Cave
Preceded by
Terence Dare Sorby
Director of Commerce & Industry and Commissioner of Preventive Service
1970 – 1972
Succeeded by
David Harold Jordan
New division Commissioner, Independent Commission Against Corruption
1974 – 1978
Succeeded by
Sir Donald Luddington