MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS IN HONG KONG UP SHARPLY FOLLOWING 2012 LAW

As reported by the South China Morning Post, police in Hong Kong received 33,000 reports of suspicious financial transactions last year - a 12-year high and a 40 per cent rise from 2012 - after Hong Kong tightened its money-laundering laws in the middle of 2012 (Hong Kong implemented the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance, better known as AMLO, on April 1, 2012.  AMLO is the first Hong Kong legislation to impose customer due diligence requirements on banks and financial institutions). 

Of the thousands of new reports, the Financial Investigations Division of the Narcotics Bureau initiated 349 investigations in 2013, up 41.9 per cent from the 246 in 2012.  The total value of assets frozen by Hong Kong police in money-laundering investigations rose 13.7 per cent to HK$873 million in 2013, from HK$768 million in 2012, according to Hong Kong police data. In 2011, police froze HK$731 million worth of assets.  The cases included requests from overseas law enforcement agencies as well as cases opened by local police. Law enforcement agencies from the mainland, Australia and the US had been "very co-operative" with Hong Kong police in money laundering investigations, Chief Inspector Paul Chung Yat-cheung said.