Date
23 August 2017
Intermediaries typically establish shell companies in Hong Kong and leave after opening online bank accounts. Bank details are then passed to their principals, according to the police. Photo: CNSA
Intermediaries typically establish shell companies in Hong Kong and leave after opening online bank accounts. Bank details are then passed to their principals, according to the police. Photo: CNSA

Hong Kong money laundering on the rise

Hong Kong prosecuted 212 people for alleged money laundering and seized a combined HK$3.04 billion (US$392 million) in 2014, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

The number of cases rose 27.71 percent from the previous year, with convictions up 6.72 percent to 143, the report said, citing police statistics.

Prosecutors lodged more than 1,000 money laundering charges.

Among the most high-profile convicts is Carson Yeung, former president of English football club Birmingham City F.C. and chairman of Birmingham International Holdings, previously listed in Hong Kong.

Yeung was founded guilty of laundering more than HK$721 million and was sentenced to six-year imprisonment.

Police officials said the increase in the number of prosecutions and convictions show money laundering in Hong Kong is becoming more serious.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong police are working to strengthen reporting of suspicious activity involving large amounts of cash, the report said.  

Intermediaries typically establish shell companies in Hong Kong and leave after opening online bank accounts. Bank details are then passed to their principals, according to the police. 

The practice, which could involve several thousand to several million dollars, makes money laundering difficult to detect.

It took the United States 14 years to prosecute and convict all the defendants in a case involving Xu Chaofan, a branch president of Bank of China Ltd. (03988.HK), in 2009.

Xu was given a 25-year prison sentence.

Translation by Vey Wong

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

VW/JP/RA

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