HKSAR v Fu Guangmiao [2021] 1 HKLRD 476

The Court of First Instance allowed the appeal against sentence of the Appellant, who was convicted for “operating money service without a licence” contrary to section 29 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615).

Representing the Appellant, Brian Tsui argued that the facts of this case did not necessitate a deterrent sentence.  The Appellant was in need of Hong Kong Dollars for his wife’s surgery, and therefore offered to assist fellow Mainland university colleagues and students by accepting Hong Kong Dollar deposits from them and into his own accounts, while remitting Renminbi into the Mainland bank accounts of those colleagues and students.

The Court upheld the conviction and considered that the Appellant’s act amounted to operating a remittance service.  However, the Court also opined that the Appellant’s activities were unrelated to money laundering or terrorism, and what he did was also not an act specifically targeted by the Anti-Money and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615), and thus reduced the Appeallant’s sentence from a community service order of 100 hours to a fine of HK$20,000.

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