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Anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism

International standards of anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) are set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). As a member of the FATF, Hong Kong implements recommendations promulgated by this inter-government body to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

In Hong Kong, the main pieces of legislation that are concerned with money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing are the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO), the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance (DTROP), the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO), the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance (UNATMO), the United Nations Sanctions Ordinance (UNSO) and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (Control of Provision of Services) Ordinance (WMD(CPS)O).

The AMLO imposes on financial institutions, including licensed corporations and virtual asset service providers licensed by the SFC under the AMLO (SFC-licensed VAS Providers), and designated non-financial businesses and professions, requirements regarding customer due diligence and record-keeping.

The DTROP, the OSCO and the UNATMO impose statutory obligations for reporting suspicious transactions where a person knows or suspects that any property represents proceeds of (or was, or is intended to be, used in connection with) drug trafficking or an indictable offence, or that any property is terrorist property.

The UNATMO and regulations under the UNSO implement sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council, whereas the WMD(CPS)O controls the provision of services that are suspected to be related to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The SFC’s Guideline on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (For Licensed Corporations and SFC-licensed Virtual Asset Service Providers) sets out the relevant AML/CFT statutory and regulatory requirements, and the AML/CFT standards which licensed corporations and SFC-licensed VAS Providers should meet in order to comply with the statutory requirements under the AMLO. It also provides practical guidance to assist licensed corporations and SFC-licensed VAS Providers, and their senior management in designing and implementing their own policies, procedures and controls so as to meet the relevant AML/CFT statutory and regulatory requirements.

To view the legal and regulatory requirements, please click here.

For other publications and information sources regarding AML/CFT, please click here.

Last update: 25 May 2023

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