Money changer and its two directors receive largest fine on record for operating money service without licence

2 Mar 2023

‚ÄčA money changer and its two directors were convicted of operating a money service without a valid licence at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts yesterday (March 1) and were fined a total of $114,000, which was a record high among cases of unlicensed money service operation.

Customs officers in May last year conducted an investigation and discovered that a male director and a female director of a money changer in Mong Kok had been operating a remittance business before the application for a Money Service Operator licence was approved. Therefore, the money changer and the two directors were suspected of operating a money service without a licence.

Customs welcomes the sentence. The record-breaking fine has achieved a deterrent effect while a clear warning has been issued to unlicensed money service operators.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, a person who wishes to operate a remittance or money changing service needs to first obtain a licence from the Customs and Excise Department. The maximum penalty for such operators without a valid licence upon conviction is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Customs reminds consumers to procure services from licensed money service operators. A register of licensees is accessible from the website of Customs' Money Service Operators Licensing System at

Members of the public may report any suspected unlicensed money service operation to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (

Ends/Thursday, March 2, 2023
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