39-year-old Mainland woman charged by ICAC for conspiring with others to launder HK$600,000


24th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) A 39-year-old Mainland woman, has been charged with conspiring to launder money in connection with a phone scam case in Hong Kong. The case came to light after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) received a complaint that someone was impersonating ICAC officials in phone scams. Following an investigation, it was revealed that the suspect allegedly opened bank accounts for scammers and allowed them to use the accounts to process the proceeds of the phone scams.

The woman was charged with one count of conspiracy to deal with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence under the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance, commonly known as money laundering. She is accused of conspiring with others to deal with HK$600,000 (approximately US$77,000) in Hong Kong dollars and US dollars in bank accounts at Bank of China between November 2018 and March 2019.

According to the ICAC, she opened three bank accounts at Bank of China in Hong Kong in November 2018 at the request of a friend she had met through a social media platform. She allegedly allowed others to operate the accounts and falsely declared her educational qualifications and employment status when opening the accounts.

The ICAC investigation revealed that the funds in the accounts were suspected to have been deposited by scammers who requested the victims of phone scams to transfer money to these accounts under the pretext of conducting financial investigations. The ICAC emphasised that it would not ask members of the public to deposit money into designated bank accounts for the purpose of conducting financial investigations. It also urged the public not to follow instructions from individuals claiming to be ICAC officials and to report any suspicious activities to the ICAC hotline.

The woman was remanded in custody and the case will be heard at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on 25th March, 2023. If convicted, she could face a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million.