In a press statement which was issued on 28th December, Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department announced the imprisonment of the 2 individuals presumed to be responsible for laundering $384 million via personal bank accounts and a cryptocurrency exchange. The two were charged with engaging with assets acknowledged or substantially suspected to be profits of a prosecutable offense, or cash laundering, in the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance. 

In Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, an individual who was responsible for committing a felony whenever he or she engages with any asset understanding or possessing legitimate cause to suspect that this sort of assets, in an entire or in portion, explicitly or implicitly constitutes any individual’s profits from an unlawful act. Punishment carries a maximum punishment of 5 million Hong Kong dollars in fines and fourteen years in prison, as well as forfeiture of the criminal profits.

A Prosecutable Crime

According to the Hong Kong provincial administration, 2 suspects were arrested on suspicion of laundering $384 million through a bitcoin exchange platform. The two, a twenty-eight year old lady with her twenty-one year old brother, were apprehended after a raid on their home by Hong Kong Customs on the 28th December.

The siblings were charged since they handled assets recognized or widely assumed to constitute profits of an indictable offense under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 455), according to a statement released by the authorities. The twenty-eight year old lady and her twenty-one year old brother were detained in the Yau Tong neighborhood and discharged on bail awaiting further investigation. It is not impossible for more arrests to be carried out.

The announcement of the government also details the processes taken in the investigation leading up to the charges, stating that the two detained people are opening individual accounts at different institutions in Hong Kong and a cryptocurrency exchange trades platform between May and November in 2020, and involved in an alleged money laundering whilst also handling money from questionable sources via bank transfers, money deposits, and cryptocurrency, according to the inquiry. However, the announcement disclosed that the 2 siblings had been granted bail, but it also implied that the probe would proceed and that additional arrests are not ruled out.

Criminals Could Be Imprisoned for up to 14 Years

Based on the law under Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 455) acts, an individual who is responsible for committing a felony if he or she attempts dealing with any asset recognizing or having good reason to trust that such asset in an entire or in part explicitly or implicitly symbolizes any profits from individuals of a prosecutable offense. Those tried and convicted of this crime incur a possible term of fourteen years in prison and a 5 million Hong Kong dollars penalty, with the profits of their operations surrendered to the government, based on the announcement.