Money launderer gets three years

Judge says illegal immigrant must have known cash was not legitimate and used false ID card

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 3:51am

A mainland man living illegally in Hong Kong has been jailed for three years and nine months for laundering HK$6 million for a firm that hired him purportedly to buy groceries and play computer games.

Su Ying, 38, earlier pleaded not guilty to one count of money laundering. He said he was following orders in 2011 when he went to deposit the money and was unaware the cash might be related to an indictable offence.

A co-defendant, Chew Kun-yick, 78, was acquitted as there was insufficient evidence to prove he knew he was taking part in a scam.

Deputy Judge So Wai-tak said he found it hard to believe a company would entrust HK$6 million in cash to an employee like Su.

"Obviously, [Su] was employed as a tool for money laundering," the judge said in the District Court yesterday.

So said Su must have known the money came from illegal activity. He considered the fact the amount was significant and that Su had used a false identity card.

Su entered Hong Kong illegally by boat on November 1, 2011, the court heard earlier. He contacted a relative who introduced him to a firm named Hoi Shing, and got a false identity card and a job. The firm housed him and paid him HK$10,000 a month.

His main duties were to play computer games, surf the internet and run errands, the court heard. Su said he had no idea what business the company conducted and he never asked.

On December 15 that year, a company driver asked him to deposit HK$6 million in a bank, he said. Su, accompanied by Chew, a cleaner, visited a Bank of China branch at Hung Hom. A bank teller had doubts about Su's identity card and alerted her superior.