Anti-money laundering—Hong Kong—Q&A guide

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Anti-money laundering—Hong Kong—Q&A guide
  • 1. Identify your jurisdiction’s money laundering and anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations. Describe the main elements of these laws.
  • 2. Describe any specific powers to identify proceeds of crime or to require an explanation as to the source of funds.
  • 3. Which government entities enforce your jurisdiction’s money laundering laws?
  • 4. Can both natural and legal persons be prosecuted for money laundering?
  • 5. What constitutes money laundering?
  • 6. Is there any limitation on the types of assets or transactions that can form the basis of a money laundering offence?
  • 7. Generally, what constitute predicate offences?
  • 8. Are there any codified or common law defences to charges of money laundering?
  • 9. What is the range of outcomes in criminal money laundering cases?
  • More...

Anti-money laundering—Hong Kong—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to anti-money laundering in Hong Kong published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2021).

Authors: Herbert Smith Freehills LLP—Kyle Wombolt; Jeremy Birch; Cynthianna Yau

1. Identify your jurisdiction’s money laundering and anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations. Describe the main elements of these laws.

Hong Kong's primary anti-money laundering laws are found in the:

  1. Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Chapter 455) (OSCO);

  2. Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance (Chapter 405) (DTROPO);

  3. Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (Chapter 615) (AMLO); and

  4. United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance (Chapter 575) (UNATMO).

OSCO, DTROPO and UNATMO criminalise money laundering. AMLO imposes requirements on financial institutions and other regulated institutions relating to customer due diligence and record-keeping.

In addition, various regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), have published their own guidelines on anti-money laundering. Although these guidelines are not binding law, they prescribe the requisite compliance standards expected of the regulated entities, and non-compliance may result in disciplinary actions or use in court proceedings.

OSCO and DTROPO

Under section 25 of OSCO and DTROPO, it is a criminal offence to deal with property, knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that it represents proceeds of, or was used or is intended to

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