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Crime in Hong Kong

Travellers to Hong Kong must declare cash sums larger than HK$120,000 under new law to combat dirty money

Ordinance aimed at preventing criminal proceeds and terrorist funds from entering city takes effect in mid-July

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 11:30am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 1:48pm

Travellers in and out of Hong Kong will need to declare if they are carrying more than HK$120,000 (US$15,300) in cash, after a new law to tackle dirty money comes into force in mid-July.

The Security Bureau announced on Thursday that the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance (Commencement) Notice and the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Notice 2018 will be published in the gazette on Friday for tabling at the Legislative Council on March 28.

The ordinance will take effect from July 16.

Under the new law, which was passed by Legco in June last year and aims to prevent criminal proceeds and terrorist funds from entering the city, a traveller in possession of a large quantity of currency or bearer negotiable instruments valued at more than HK$120,000 arriving in Hong Kong via one of several specified control points must make a written declaration to customs.

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These points are Lo Wu, Hung Hom Station, Man Kam To boundary, Sha Tau Kok boundary, Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, China Ferry Terminal, Lok Ma Chau boundary, Hong Kong International Airport, Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal, Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong port area, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and Ocean Terminal.

If a traveller arrives in Hong Kong via another route, or is about to leave the city, they must disclose if they are in possession of a large quantity of currency or bearer negotiable instruments.

For large sums of cash or such instruments imported or exported in a cargo consignment, an advance electronic declaration must be made to customs.

Failure to declare could lead to criminal prosecution with a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of HK$500,000.

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“The ordinance establishes a declaration and disclosure system to detect the physical cross-boundary transportation of large quantities of CBNIs … fulfilling Hong Kong’s international obligation to implement Recommendation 32 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for ensuring that terrorists and other criminals cannot finance their activities or launder criminal proceeds through such cross-boundary means,” the spokesman said.

Since 1991, Hong Kong has been a member of the FATF, an inter-governmental body that sets international standards on anti-money-laundering measures and curbs on terrorist financing.

The body developed 40 recommendations and specifically required member jurisdictions to establish by statute a declaration system to stymie the cross-boundary transport of hard currency.

In a previous public consultation on the legislation concerned, the Security Bureau received 28 written responses and met more than 40 parties, including chambers of commerce and trade sectors.