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United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Bill to be introduced

     The Government will introduce the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Bill into the Legislative Council on February 22 (Wednesday). The Bill will implement two outstanding recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) in its 2008 Mutual Evaluation Report on Hong Kong.

     In 2008, the FATF completed the Report on Hong Kong's compliance with the FATF's recommendations in countering money laundering and terrorist financing. Specifically, the Report concluded that Hong Kong needs to improve compliance with two major recommendations by reviewing the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance (UNATMO) to comply with the recommendations of the FATF.

     A Security Bureau spokesperson said today (February 15) that to address the FATF's recommendations, the Bill aims to amend the UNATMO to repeal the definition of "funds" and replace the term "funds" with "property"; to amend the definition of "terrorist act" to cover acts to coerce international organisations; and to expand the prohibition on assistance for terrorists and terrorist organisations to also cover the collection of funds for such persons and organisations.

     "On the basis of the Report, the FATF resolved that Hong Kong should be put on a follow-up process and be required to report to the FATF on a regular basis on improvement actions taken or planned. According to the FATF's procedures, Hong Kong is expected to address the above-mentioned major deficiencies and seek the FATF's agreement to remove Hong Kong from the follow-up process not later than four years after the Report, i.e. by June 2012. Hong Kong's commitment and ability to address the deficiencies identified in the Report in respect of the FATF's recommendations would be crucial for the removal from the FATF's follow-up process," the spokesperson said.

     In accordance with the FATF's procedure for regular follow-up after mutual evaluation, if Hong Kong fails to seek removal from the follow-up process within a reasonable period due to absence of substantial improvements, the FATF may apply enhanced scrutiny and monitoring of Hong Kong. Taking into account Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre and the fact that Hong Kong's major trading partners have complied with the FATF's two major recommendations concerned, any tightened scrutiny by the FATF on Hong Kong would seriously affect the competitiveness of Hong Kong vis-à-vis our trading competitors and Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre.

     Hong Kong submitted two progress reports on the improvement actions taken or planned by Hong Kong to implement the FATF's recommendation in June 2010 and June 2011, with a firm commitment to seeking the Legislative Council's support for the passage of the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Bill before June 2012 in order to remove Hong Kong from the FATF's follow-up progress.

Ends/Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:09


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