Money-laundering suspect 'rang police over HK$4m in frozen funds'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 4:34am

A mainland businessman accused of laundering HK$13 billion in eight months made telephone inquiries with the police before his arrest to ask why his bank account in Hong Kong was frozen, the High Court heard.

Luo Juncheng, 22, allegedly rang the police between April and May 2010 to find out about the HK$4 million in his account with Chiyu Bank, the Court of First Instance was told on the second day of the trial.

Luo was arrested on January 28 last year while entering the city through the Lok Ma Chau immigration checkpoint.

Luo, who owns a computer shop on the mainland, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence. He is suspected of laundering HK$50 million every day from August 2009 to April 2010.

Prosecutors say he made 4,800 deposits into and 3,500 transfers out of the Chiyu account, which he created in the name of his firm Ace Creation Development in August 2009.

Wilson Tam Wai-shun, a senior police inspector, testified yesterday that during the phone conversations, a man purported to be Luo asked why the HK$4 million in his company bank account was frozen.

Tam said he told the caller that police were looking into whether the account was used to launder money. He asked the man to come to Hong Kong to help with the investigation.

"He said he was a mainlander and could not get a visa. He did not come eventually," Tam said.

Luo's lawyers also wrote to the police over the frozen funds between May and September 2010, the court heard.

Prosecutors earlier said Luo had funnelled funds in and out of the account mainly via internet transfers, but sometimes by cash deposit and withdrawal.

Police discovered only in May last year - some four months after Luo was arrested - that he also held a personal account with the same bank in Hong Kong. Officers froze the account, which held HK$1.1 million, that same month.

Luo had transferred HK$3.5 million from the company account to the personal one, which he used to buy shares, prosecutors said earlier.

Luo, from Guangdong, had been wanted by local police before his arrest at the border.

The trial continues before Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping.