• Hong Kong customs officials have arrested seven people in connection with the territory’s largest-ever money laundering case, involving approximately $1.8 billion.
  • Those detained were allegedly part of a large-scale transnational syndicate that used shell companies and bank accounts to transfer large sums from overseas to Hong Kong.
  • The syndicate received significant amounts: one account received up to $12.8 million in a single day.

Hong Kong customs officials have arrested seven people linked to the territory’s biggest ever money laundering case involving around $1.8 billion, some of them linked to a scam case in India.

The seven local residents, aged between 23 and 74, were part of a large-scale transnational syndicate that used several shell companies and bank accounts to transfer large sums from abroad to the city under the pretext of running international business deals, the police said. Friday customs officials. .

One account once received up to $12.8 million in a single day, they said.

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Ip Tung-ching, head of the customs financial investigation office, said $371 million of the total was suspected to be linked to a scam case involving a mobile app in India. But he did not say what application it was.

Press conference

Customs Financial Investigation Bureau chief Ip Tung-ching, center, deputy director Yeung Yuk-man, left, and division commander Yu Yiu-wing attend a press conference on a money laundering case in Hong Kong, February 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

Some of those arrested were not Chinese residents in Hong Kong, he said without giving details.

Authorities believe the syndicate received remittances from India in the name of exporting electronic devices, diamonds, gems and precious metals, Ip said. The proceeds were then transferred to bank accounts in Hong Kong for money laundering.

“These acts of money laundering provide protective umbrellas for criminals’ illegal profits,” he said.

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Law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong, India and elsewhere cooperated in carrying out the operation, allowing for its success, Ip said.

Yu Yiu-wing, division commander of the bureau, said officers exchanged intelligence with Indian authorities and discovered that some of the money came from two jewelry companies that Indian authorities said were connected to the scam.

A 34-year-old Hong Kong resident arrested in late January is suspected of masterminding the syndicate, he said.

Authorities have seized electronic devices, documents and more than 8,000 carats of suspicious synthetic gemstones that were apparently intended for export to India.

The investigation continued.

The previous record money laundering case involved around $767 million and the arrest of nine people in January 2023.

By Sam