It is a criminal offence under section 114 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance to carry on a business in any regulated activity in Hong Kong without the proper SFC licence unless an exemption is available. On 31 March 2015, the District Court set a trial date for charges of unlicensed dealing, the first indictable prosecution for such an offence.
The SFC's commentary on this development is available here:
The SFC commenced criminal proceedings in the District Court against a company and its sole director / shareholder for carrying on regulated activity in Hong Kong. The company and the sole director / shareholder, who were not SFC licensees, were charged with “dealing in” and “managing” 16 collective investment schemes for investors. The company and the sole director / shareholder pooled investors’ monies together to trade commercial properties in Hong Kong.
The investors shared proportionally in any profits generated from the realisation of the properties and the company received consultancy fees based on the profits. The trial has been set down to commence on 2 November 2015 for 12 days.