Illegal funds frozen in Hong Kong up 60 per cent, ICAC says as it prepares to host global conference on financial fraud

More than 240 experts from 100 international agencies are expected to attend talk on increasingly complex money crimes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 12:15am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 May, 2017, 12:15am

The amount of criminal proceeds frozen has soared by more than 60 per cent year-on-year, according to figures by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The anti-graft agency is set to host a two-day international conference starting Tuesday on dealing with increasingly complex financial fraud.

The conference, titled “Cutting the Financial Vein of the Corrupt”, is expected to be attended by more than 240 experts in financial investigation and anti-corruption from 100 agencies around the world.

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It will be held at the ICAC headquarters in North Point.

The experts, including 16 from the mainland China, will exchange views on the latest trends of financial fraud.

ICAC figures showed that in 2016, a total of about HK$32 million of crime proceeds were frozen, in addition to HK$889 million confiscated. In 2015, the figures were HK$19.7 million and HK$231 million respectively.

In 2016, the ICAC’s forensic accounting group assisted in 63 cases concerning 221 targeted individuals and companies in connection with transactions totalling about HK$5.4 billion.

Allen Ng Kai-ping, acting chief forensic accountant at ICAC, said: “Nowadays, criminals might try to cover up the transfer of illegal proceeds by using a lot of bank accounts, sometimes overseas accounts, for investment and transactions.”

Eric Tong Wing-tak, assistant director of the ICAC’s operations department, added that this highlighted the importance of international co-operation.

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Hong Kong’s director of public prosecutions Keith Yeung Ka-hung, and Dimitri Vlassis, chief of the corruption and economic crime branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, will give an opening speech.

Keynote speakers include Cai Wei, deputy director general of the department of international co-operation under the Chinese Ministry of Supervision; Guo Xingwang, director-general of China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s international co-operation department.

Meanwhile, addressing criticism of the conference being part of the 20th anniversary handover celebrations, Tong said: “In the 20 years after the handover, ICAC played an important role in anti-corruption. This is a chance for guests to see our contribution.”