Anti-money Laundering - Project AccFencers


  • Fraudulent Stop Order Purportedly Issued by JFIU

    Defrauding Tricks

    • Recently, the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (“JFIU”) received public enquiry over a fraudulent “stop order” purportedly issued by JFIU. The order requested the recipient to pay a sum of fee in order to obtain a certificate to prove the legitimacy of the remittance that he/she has made, so that the transaction could proceed.

    Our Advice

    • The JFIU has never issued such order, or any similar order directing recipient to pay for a fee to effect any financial transaction.
    • Genuine law enforcement officers will not request you to settle any fees or ask for your online banking account number or password for investigation of cases;
    • Even if the scammers are able to provide your personal information or remittance details and send you their law enforcement credentials, it does not necessarily mean that they are genuine law enforcement officers. Scammers can obtain the personal information of the public through open access, security loopholes and even illegal sources;
    • Do not disclose your personal information to strangers, including your HKID number, address, online banking accounts and PIN codes;
    • Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organisation directly – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
    • Do not click on unknown hyperlinks or input any information;
    • Remind your relatives and friends to stay vigilant against deception;
    • If in doubt, please call the “Anti-Scam Helpline 18222” for advice and consider report the matter to the Police.

Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau x “Project AccFencers”

To enhance public awareness of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau has rolled out an anti-money laundering programme, namely the "Project AccFencers”, since November 2021.

The title "Acc” stands for "Account” and "Fencers” implies attack and defence in a fencing game. The project rallies the efforts of all sectors and the public to combat money laundering and safeguard Hong Kong’s status as one of the safest and healthiest international financial centres in the world.

In July 2022, the "AccFencers" set out again.  To enhance public understanding of money laundering offences, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau has designed three mascots namely "Don’t Rent", "Don’t Lend" and "Don’t Sell" with a view to reminding the public not to rent, lend or sell their accounts to others as these may be abused for unlawful purposes.

On the other hand, veteran actress Cinda HUI Sze Man was invited to promote the Anti-money Laundering Month.  Her role as Isabella in a television drama showed a hit.  In the promotional event, it is Isabella’s first time to rap a song to alert the public not to fall into money laundering traps.

2022 "AccFencers" Events

From 18 July to 19 August 2022, alongside with seminars and workshops, promotional videos and leaflets will be published and released on various platforms to disseminate the message of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism.  Other publicity activities for the public and the industry include:

Engaging Community and Stakeholders

  1. Anti-money laundering seminars (schools, regulatory bodies and professional associations)
  2. Souvenir distribution
  3. Release on promotional videos and leaflets on various platforms
  4. Asia/Pacific Group (APG) Plenary Meetings
  5. Hong Kong Monetary Authority Anti-Money Laundering Regtech Lab (AMLab) Workshop

 



AML Albums

2022-06-08【Operation WARRIORBOLT – 16 persons arrested for money laundering】

Acting upon intelligence, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau unveiled a local syndicate recruiting stooges to open bank accounts for processing suspected crime proceeds. Since January 2020, the syndicate used at least 136 local bank accounts to process suspected crime proceeds amounting to HK$2.5 billion, including fraudulent payments involved in 40 local deception cases. The victims suffered a total loss of over HK$50 million. After in-depth investigation, an arrest operation codenamed WARRIORBOLT turned overt on 7 June 2022 and 16 persons were arrested for “Conspiracy to Money Laundering” with seizure of a significant amount of credit cards and bank documents. The operation prevented the dissipation of over HK$5 million of crime proceeds.

Click into the video to learn more about the case.



2022-05-25【Hong Kong in joint operation with Macau against money laundering with 22 arrested】

Acting upon intelligence, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau unveiled a cross-boundary syndicate recruiting family and friends to set up stooge bank accounts in Hong Kong for receiving a significant amount of crime proceeds through core syndicate members in Macau via internet banking. The proceeds would then be withdrawn to evade detection. Between October 2020 and March 2022, the syndicate used at least 181 local bank accounts to launder over HK$2.2 billion of suspected crime proceeds, including fraudulent payments involved in at least 32 local deception cases. The victims suffered a total loss of over HK$84 million. After in-depth investigation, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau and the Macao Judiciary Police mounted a joint operation on 24th May 2022, resulting in the arrest of 17 persons in Hong Kong and 5 persons in Macau respectively for “Conspiracy to Money Laundering”, including core syndicate members and stooge account holders.

Click into the video to learn more about the case.



2022-04-15 【4 persons arrested for fraudulent use of consumption vouchers】

The Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau identified some merchants via social media, offering the encashment of government consumption vouchers by providing the merchant code of their stored value facility (SVF) accounts and transferring the amount back to the consumption voucher owner via e-banking, without genuine local consumption. Following extensive investigation, an arrest operation turned overt on 14th April 2022. Two males and two females were arrested for the offence of “Conspiracy to Defraud”.

Click into the video to learn more about the case.



2022-04-09 【3 persons arrested for encashment of consumption vouchers】

Following an extensive investigation, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau and the Regional Crime Unit, Kowloon West discovered that someone had been offering the encashment of government consumption vouchers at discounted price on social media platforms for making profit. On 8th April, 2022, an arrest operation turned overt, and three males were arrested for the offence of “Fraud”.

Click into the video to learn more about the case.



2022-03-26 【Operation MAKEFAITH – 8 persons arrested for laundering crime proceeds of HKD 90 million】

Acting upon intelligence, the Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau unveiled a money laundering syndicate involving in 30 local online deception cases. The syndicate recruited stooges to set up personal virtual bank accounts for receiving fraudulent crime proceeds amounting to HK$10 million. Following an extensive investigation, an arrest operation codenamed MAKEFAITH turned overt on 25th March 2022, resulting in the arrest of three core syndicate members and five stooge account holders for the offence of “Money Laundering”, “Conspiracy to Money Laundering” and “Making Counterfeit Notes and Coins”. The offenders were suspected of laundering crime proceeds amounting to over HK$90 million using over 30 local bank accounts between August 2018 and January 2022. During the operation, 25 pieces of $500 counterfeit banknotes and a set of tools for making counterfeit banknotes were seized from the residence of the core syndicate members.

Click into the video to learn more about the case.



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Common Modus Operandi

Employment Trap
Fraudsters make use of social media platforms to post “quick cash jobs” recruitment advertisements. Job seekers are indeed lured to provide their bank accounts, which will be used by fraudsters as stooge accounts for laundering proceeds of crime. Previous cases suggested that fraudsters claimed that accommodation and beverage would be provided in job recruitment posts. Instead, job seekers would be detained in hotel rooms for days, during which their bank accounts were being used for money laundering purpose. Job seekers should beware of common employment traps and always be cautious.


Money Mule Scam
Crime syndicates make use of social media platforms to lure citizens into lending or selling their bank accounts, claiming it is “safe and legal”, but are in fact using the bank accounts as stooge accounts for money laundering. The personal data of the account holder may also be used by lawbreakers for illegal purposes.


Online Romance Scam
Swindlers approach victims on social media platforms and develop an intimate relationship with them to earn their trust. Swindlers will then ask victims to help set up a bank account, claiming it is for investment purpose, but are in fact using the account for money laundering.


Anti-Money Laundering Micro Film

【 財富情報及調查科 · 反洗黑錢月宣傳片強勢登場 】
2021-11-25


Relevant Legislation on Money Laundering

Under section 25(1) of the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance, Cap 405 and section 25(1) of the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, Cap 455, Money laundering is an offence for a person who, knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that any property which, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly represents any person’s proceeds of drug trafficking or indictable offence, deals with that property.

Maximum penalty is a HK$ 5,000,000 fine and 14-year imprisonment.



Terrorist Financing

Under the following provisions of UNATMO Cap.575, it is an offence if a person:

  • provides or collects property, with intention or knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe, that the property, in whole or in part be used or will be used to commit one or more terrorist acts (section 7)
  • makes property or financial services available to or for the benefit of terrorist or terrorist associate. (section 8)

Maximum penalty is a fine and 14-year imprisonment.

UNATMO Cap. 575 has been fully implemented since 1st January 2011. Under section 6 of Cap. 575 the Secretary for Security is authorized to freeze the property of terrorists or of persons connected with terroristsection It is an offence under section 14 if a person knowingly contravenes a notice under section 6(1) or contravenes a requirement under section 6(7).

To read more about these sections of the legislation, please follow this link to the explanatory notes of section 6 and section 14 of Cap. 575 or this link to the Hong Kong E-Legislation.



AML Infopack

Joint Financial Intelligence Unit Publications

For JFIU publications, please follow this link to the JFIU webpage.


Statistics

For statistics of the conviction, assets recovery and suspicious transaction report, please follow this link to the JFIU webpage.


Suspicious Transaction Report

For details of the suspicious transaction report, please follow this link to the JFIU webpage.