Hong Kong Customs detects money laundering case involving about $370 million

     Hong Kong Customs yesterday (September 27) mounted an operation and detected a suspected money laundering case. A man, who was suspected of using his personal and wholly owned company's bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong to launder a total of about $370 million from unknown sources between November 2019 and May this year, was arrested. Customs has arranged to freeze a total bank balance of about $7 million held by the arrestee.
     Acting upon intelligence, Customs officers targeted a local person whose background and financial status were highly incommensurate with the large amount of suspicious transactions recorded in his personal and company bank accounts. The person concerned was suspected of remitting suspicious funds out via local bank accounts and participating in money laundering activities.
     Following in-depth investigations, Customs officers yesterday raided a residential premises and a secretarial company and seized one computer, three mobile phones and a batch of company documents and bank statements. A 38-year-old man was arrested for "dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence" (commonly known as money laundering) under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO).
     An investigation is ongoing. The arrested man has been released on bail pending further investigation and the likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.
     Customs reminds members of the public that they may risk committing the crime of money laundering if they use bank accounts to deal with money from unknown sources, regardless of whether monetary reward is involved.

     Under the OSCO, a person commits an offence if he or she deals with any property knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that such property in whole or in part directly or indirectly represents any person's proceeds of an indictable offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $5 million and imprisonment for 14 years while the crime proceeds are also subject to confiscation.
     Members of the public may report any suspected money laundering activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:38