Bitcoin virtually absent from HK AML report

Author: Karry Lai | Published: 4 Jun 2018

The Hong Kong government’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment report has paid little attention to the risks posed by certain type of activities, including those linked to virtual currencies and trade finance arrangements, to the surprise of market participants.

One of the most striking features of the report is in section three which outlines the enforcement landscape between 2013 and 2017. Even though there has been an almost threefold growth in suspicious transaction reports, the number of prosecutions has decreased over the same period, including a decrease in sentences and confiscation or proceeds orders. There has also been a lack of high profile enforcement cases which would have a stronger deterrent effect.

Another interesting statistic is the discrepancy between the number of requests made (low) versus the number of requests received (high) under the mutual legal assistance framework. This indicates that...