Updated at 5.40pm: Hong Kong and Australian Federal Police have smashed a money-laundering syndicate and arrested three men and a woman in Hong Kong and Australia, news reports confirmed on Thursday. A police spokesman said officers from the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit and Narcotics Bureau had been working closely with the Australian Federal Police. They were investigating a syndicate suspected of having laundered approximately HK$70 million between Hong Kong and Australia from 2003 to 2004. The money which has been laundered was suspected to be related to drug-trafficking activities, said the spokesman. As the operation developed, simultaneous arrest actions were mounted in Hong Kong and Australia on March 1. A total of HK$70,000 and AUD$10,000 were seized during the operation. Two men, aged 43 and 59, and one woman, aged 39, were arrested in Hong Kong and a Chinese-Australian man, 39, was arrested in Sydney, Australia. The Chinese-Australian was the head of the syndicate, Ming Pao Daily reported on Thursday. The paper said the 43-year-old man arrested in Hong Kong was a company director. The two men arrested in Hong Kong have been charged with one count of ?dealing with the proceeds of crime'. The man arrested in Australia has been charged with money laundering-related offences. The woman has been released on bail pending further inquiries. Ming Pao also reported the money launderers had made use of a financial loophole. The Australian government does not require identification of people involved in transferring financial sums under $AUD10,000 (HK$60,769). The syndicate had hired a large number of people in Australia to help transfer money to Hong Kong, it said.