POLICE and legal chiefs have been among world financial crime experts helping China implement money-laundering laws. A conference, which finished last week in Japan, was aimed at assessing the mainland's progress in the fight against financial crime. Delegates to the Asian Secretariat of the Financial Action Taskforce are now looking forward to China accepting the need for money-tracing legislation. This follows the United Nations recently stating that global money laundering in drug profits alone amounted to US$50 billion (HK$386 billion) a year. Taskforce secretary Rick McDonnell said China was starting to feel the brunt of the consequences of laundering. Mr McDonnell said developing laws to impede the growth of financial crime was a priority for Chinese officials, especially given the rise in corporate fraud and drug and money-laundering offences. 'They have been caught out and realise the need for sophisticated procedures and laws,' he said. 'There now seems to be a political imperative. Because Hong Kong is seen as being at the forefront of this legislation, its experience will contribute to the forum. 'We now have a far closer degree of co-operation between member countries in the region.' The taskforce was founded in 1989 when the Group of Seven top industrialised nations recognised the mass scale of the world's money-laundering problem. Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and Japan are key members with a push for broader involvement from China, Thailand and South Korea. The taskforce has sought to spread the '40 recommendations' - the accepted doctrine for fighting financial crime. Mr McDonnell also said that unlicensed remittance centres, which police have complained are a lure for drug traffickers and money laundering in the territory, were a growing problem. 'Admittedly they are very difficult to regulate; they are an efficient means of transferring money - it is a debit and a credit at either end,' he said. The Japan conference follows the first conviction for money laundering in Hong Kong in October, six years after legislation was unveiled for the offence.