Alert to Telephone Scams in Conducting Business

Created on 31 August 2015

Circular to Money Service Operators

Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing

Alert to Telephone Scams in Conducting Business

In view of the recent increasing number in telephone scams involving the use of
different tactics of fraud such as swindlers posing as law enforcement officials, other
authorities, bank or delivery company staff etc., asking intended victims to transfer
money to an unknown account or recipient; deceiving or intimidating them into paying
to help relatives out of fake trouble; etc., this Department would like to urge you to be
vigilant about being exploited as tools by criminals or fraudsters in conducting money
service business.

Where relevant to your business, aside from complying with the Anti-Money Laundering
and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance, you must also
beware of falling unwittingly for those telephone scams as aforementioned.
Where appropriate, your customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring measures
should include, but not limited to, identifying transactions that are unusual or have no
apparent legitimate purpose or inconsistent with the expected pattern of the customer,
as well as asking the customer questions that a reasonable person would ask in the
circumstances for clarification if necessary, for example, where the customer’s story
does not amount to a reasonable and legitimate explanation of the activity observed,

You are also reminded that any suspicious activity related to money laundering and
terrorist financing on a customer should be reported to the Joint Financial Intelligence
Unit. In situations where other crimes, such as fraud, are perceived, you should report
to the Hong Kong Police.

Should you have any questions regarding the contents of this circular, please contact
us on 3759 3720.

Money Service Supervision Bureau
Customs and Excise Department

Issued from Customs and Excise Department

Money service operator convicted for contravention of customer due diligence requirements

Created on 29 June 2015

     A proprietor of a licensed money service operator was fined $428,000 in total today (June 24) at the Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts after pleading guilty to 22 charges of failing to comply with the customer due diligence requirements as stipulated in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance.

     A compliance inspection conducted by officers of the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) revealed that the female sole proprietor had failed to identify, verify and record the identification of customers in connection with 22 remittance and money changing transactions conducted between July 2013 and May 2014.

     The C&ED reminds all licensed money service operators to comply with the customer due diligence and record-keeping requirements as stipulated in the Ordinance, which came into effect on April 1, 2012. The maximum penalty on conviction is imprisonment for seven years and a fine of $1 million.

Ends/Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:05

Issued from Press Releases

Appointments to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Review Tribunal

Created on 18 May 2015

     The Government announced today (February 27) that in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (Cap. 615), the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, has made appointments or re-appointments for the Review Tribunal set up under the Ordinance, for a three-year term with effect from April 1, 2015.

     The appointments and re-appointments are as follows:

Re-appointed chairperson
Mr Martin Liao Cheung-kong

Six re-appointed panel members
Mr Nixon Chan Lik-sang
Ms Chu Koh-ann
Mrs Agnes Koon Woo Kam-oi
Ms Miranda Kwok Pui-fong
Mr William Lee Yiu-wing
Mr Allan Yu Kin-nam

Four newly-appointed panel members
Mr Chan Kam-hon
Ms Roxanne Ismail
Mr Peter Li Po-ting
Mr Anson Wong Man-kit

     The Tribunal is established to review decisions specified under the Ordinance and made by any relevant authority including the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Customs and Excise Department.

     Specified decisions include decisions of the relevant authority to impose supervisory sanctions on a regulated entity in the respective financial sector, and those of the Commissioner of Customs and Excise on licensing matters in respect of money service operators.

Ends/Friday, February 27, 2015
Issued at HKT 10:00

Record Keeping and Update HKCE Information

Created on 16 February 2015

The Chinese New Year is approaching and we would like to wish your Company a Prosperous and Wealthy Year of the Sheep!

 We understand that your Company must be very busy with business.  We hope to take this opportunity to remind you not to forget the importance of compliance with the laws.  In particular, please be reminded to “keeping proper records” and “updating HKCE registration information on a timely basis” in order to protect your legal rights.

 If you would like to know more about how to meet the legal requirements in Customer Due Diligence, Ongoing Monitoring, Record Keeping, Staff Training, and Reporting Suspicious Transaction, please feel free to contact us by phone: 3563 8766 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Inno Compliance Consultation Team

HK Customs and Excise Department – Seminar for MSOs (2014/09/03)

Created on 04 September 2014

The HK Customs and Excise Department (“HKCE”) held an AML Seminar for MSO on 2014/09/03.  During the seminar, HKCE, HK Police and JFIU provided useful information and latest development news on AML / CTF.  In particular, they provided effective red flags to identify “telephone scam”.  JFIU also encouraged MSOs to submit Suspicious Transaction Reports on any suspicious person / activities in order to protect the MSOs and the general public.


In addition, HKCE and HK Police drew special attention to the below issues:


1. MSO renewal application must be submitted at least 45 days before the license expiry date.  Otherwise, the license will expire on the expiry date and a new license must be applied separately.  Important note: It is illegal to carry out money service without a license!


2. As FATF will be coming to HK to assess the AML policy and implementation of the MSO industry, HKCE will soon issue a relevant questionnaire to MSOs in HK.  HKCE encouraged all MSOs to get prepared and actively respond to the questionnaire.


3. HKCE emphasized that the “Policy Statement on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Template)” is for reference only.  MSOs should tailor-made a detailed and appropriate AML policy and procedure based on their own circumstances. 


If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel free to contact us.