COURTS

Man who laundered HK$13b must pay HK$5m or get longer sentence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 3:16am

A mainlander who set Hong Kong’s money-laundering record of HK$13.1 billion must hand over HK$5.2 million left in his bank accounts or face a longer jail term.

The Court of First Instance on Wednesday ordered Luo Juncheng, 22, to hand over the money in a month or have as much as five years added to his 10½-year sentence.

Madam Justice Ester Toh Lye-ping made the order in response to a Department of Justice application after the money was found in two Chiyu Bank accounts that Luo held personally or through a company he controlled.

Once the prosecution proved you benefited from the crime, you are not allowed to keep the proceeds of the crime
Madam Justice Ester Toh Lye-ping

Luo asked the judge why the money in his personal account should be seized.

“Once the prosecution proved you benefited from the crime, you are not allowed to keep the proceeds of the crime and therefore it should be confiscated,” Toh said.

“If in the period I imposed, you do not hand over the money in your personal account and the account of the company you have control, I can impose additional imprisonment,” she said. “Considering the amount involved, the term of imprisonment may be about five years.”

Luo was found guilty by a Court of First Instance jury in January of dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence.

He made 4,800 deposits and 3,500 transfers through a Chiyu Bank account between August 2009 and April 2010, with most of the funds funnelled via internet transfers.

Sentencing Luo earlier, Toh said his crime was the most serious of its kind that she had seen before Hong Kong’s courts and she could not find a case involving anywhere near such a large amount.

She said it was now urgent to review the maximum penalties for the offence, which was becoming more prevalent.