Hong Kong Customs investigates unregistered precious stone transaction at International trade show at AsiaWorld-Expo, 3 arrested

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3rd March 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Customs recently uncovered a case involving a local company that conducted a transaction of precious stones exceeding HK$120,000 in value without proper registration. The incident occurred during the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show held at AsiaWorld-Expo from 27th February to 2nd March. As the investigation continues, three individuals who were arrested have been released on bail, pending further inquiries.

This marks the first case detected by Hong Kong Customs following the conclusion of the nine-month transitional period for registration, which ran from April to December 2023. The case brings attention to the Dealers in Precious Metals and Stones Regulatory Regime (the Regime), which was implemented under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615).

Effective since 1st April, 2023, the Regime requires individuals engaged in the business of dealing with precious metals and stones in Hong Kong to register with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise. Any transaction, whether involving payment or receipt, with a total value equal to or exceeding HK$120,000 in Hong Kong necessitates registration. It is important to note that individuals who falsely claim to be registered or carry out transactions without proper registration may face severe penalties, including a maximum fine of HK$100,000 and up to six months of imprisonment upon conviction.

Hong Kong Customs emphasises that all dealers in precious metals and stones must be aware that the transitional period for registration has expired. Starting from 1st January, 2024, dealers who wish to engage in cash or non-cash transactions exceeding HK$120,000 in value must successfully obtain the relevant registration before proceeding. This requirement aims to enhance transparency and prevent illicit activities within the industry.