New developments in Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering laws

Publication Date04 Jul 2016
AuthorDavid Kwok
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial compliance/regulation,Financial crime
New developments in
Hong Kong’s anti-money
laundering laws
David Kwok
University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss briey new developments in Hong Kong’s (HK)
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws, both in terms of case law and legislation.
Design/methodology/approach – In terms of case law, the author discusses two decisions given by
HK’s Court of Final Appeal relating to the dealing of proceeds of crime offence. Also, a guideline case on
sentencing is also examined. In terms of legislation, the author briey outlines the main provisions of
the newly enacted AML and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance.
Findings – As suggested by the Financial Action Task Force, new measures need to be put in place.
The AML laws, as they presently stand, need further improvement.
Originality/value – A good AML regime is necessary as HK continues to thrive as a major nancial/
banking centre in Asia. This paper seeks to encourage more discussion on the topic.
Keywords Hong Kong, Crime, AML, Sentencing, Financial institutions
Paper type Technical paper
The purpose of this paper is to give a brief account of some of the latest developments in
Hong Kong’s (HK) Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. HK’s developed banking and
nance sectors, as well as its open and free markets, have made it a key nancial centre
in Asia. But such characteristics have also created opportunities for abuse of its banking
and nancial facilities by money launderers. There have been money laundering
incidents involving gigantic sums of money through HK’s banking system: in the case of
Hui Yat Sing, some $6.4bn worth of proceeds of crime from mainland China was
laundered[1], and the case of Jerome Yudal Arnold Herzberg involved some $683m
(Secretary for Justice v. Jerome Yudal Arnold Herzberg [2010] 1 HKLRD 502).
In terms of case law development, there are two decisions by the court of nal appeal
that concern section 25 of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Cap 455)
(OSCO), the offence of dealing with proceeds of an indictable offence. In terms of
legislation development, the AML and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial
Institutions) Ordinance (Cap 615) (AMLCTF Ordinance) was enacted and came into
effect in 2012. This new law imposes a whole range of duties on nancial institutions
collectively known as customer due diligence requirements. Finally, in terms of
sentencing, the Court of Appeal gave a decision in 2012 which laid down a number of
guidelines concerning some aggravating factors which warrant higher sentences with
respect to section 25 of OSCO.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Hong Kong’s
Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.19 No. 3, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JMLC-06-2015-0023

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