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Two money changers as well as four men and two women convicted of operating money service without licence

6 July 2022


Hong Kong Customs earlier detected three cases of unlicensed money service operation. A money changer and its male director plus a male shopkeeper and a female shopkeeper as well as another money changer's male owner and male shopkeeper were fined $6,000 to $40,000 at Shatin Magistrates' Courts. On the other hand, another money changer and its female director were each fined $16,000 at Eastern Magistrates' Courts.

In the first case, Customs officers in February last year conducted an investigation and found that a money changer and its male director together with a male shopkeeper and a female shopkeeper were suspected of operating a money service without a licence since they had been operating money changing business at a money changer in Ma On Shan after its renewal application of a Money Service Operator licence was refused. The male director and the two shopkeepers were fined $6,000 to $8,000 earlier while the money changer was fined $10,000 today (July 6) after they were convicted at Shatin Magistrates' Courts.

In the second case, Customs officers in March last year found that a male owner and a male shopkeeper were suspected of operating a money service without a licence since they had been operating remittance business at a money changer in Fo Tan after expiry of the Money Service Operator licence. The two of them were fined $40,000 and $32,000 respectively after they were convicted at Shatin Magistrates' Courts today.

In the third case, Customs officers in September last year found that a money changer and its female director were suspected of operating a money service without a licence since they had been operating remittance business at a money changer in Central after its renewal application of a Money Service Operator licence was refused. The money changer and the female director were each fined $16,000 after they were convicted at Eastern Magistrates' Court today.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, a person who operates a remittance and/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 eservices.customs.gov.hk/MSOS/wsrh/001s1?request_locale=en.

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 (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

 

Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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