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Members' Circular
12 March 2020

Dear Members:

Through this Circular, our Association would like to take this opportunity to provide all members the latest updates on Association affairs and information relevant to licensed MSOs:

Anti-Money Laundering Course (Cantonese)

“AML Statutory Requirements” course (Cantonese) co-organized by our Association and Institute of Professional Education and Knowledge (PEAK) will be held on 26 March 2020 (Thursday night). Since sufficient staff training is significantly effective in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and HKC&ED requires MSOs to receive relevant AML continuous training, our Association encourages MSOs to proactively participate as well as to arrange and encourage their staff to attend our courses so as to ensure that the staffs understand their responsibilities and to deepen staff’s understand on the importance of continuous monitoring.

The course only costs MSOA Member HK$490 each. To verify the eligibility to the special discount, applicants must enrol in the course through the Hong Kong Money Service Operators Association. For more details or any queries, please visit our website or call our hotline at 3176 2004.

Money Service Operators Licensing Guide

The <Licensing Guide> is revised and now In force This guide applies to an applicant for grant or renewal of an MSO licence (applicant) or a licensee.

Guideline on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism

This guideline provides practical guidance to help applicants to consider their proposed business plan and special circumstances. Formulate its own policies, procedures and control measures in relevant business areas to comply with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Applicants must carry out their own assessment of the risk of combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and implement a series of policies to reduce the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. Policies must be based on the applicant's risk assessment and commensurate with the risk profile of their business.

Guidelines for Submission of Business Plan

These guidelines set out key elements that should be included in the business plan so as to allow the Money Service Supervision Bureau (“MSSB”) to have a comprehensive understanding of the applicant’s proposed money service business and its mode of operation. The business plan should ensure that the applicant pays attention to both the broad operational and compliance objectives of the new business. The MSSB is obliged to look into the applicant’s entire business operation from the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (“AML/CFT”) perspective.

Money exchange swindlers conned two victims out of US$1 million, Hong Kong police say after arresting four and seizing HK$8 million in fake notes

Hong Kong police seized nearly HK$8 million in counterfeit banknotes and arrested four suspected members of a remittance fraud gang who swindled two victims out of more than 7.1 million yuan (US$1.03 million). The syndicate ran two phoney money exchange shops in Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po. Staff conned the two victims into remitting more than 2.6 million yuan and 4.5 million yuan into two designated bank accounts in mainland China for changing into Hong Kong dollars on November 7 and January 3. When the victims demanded the cash at the shops, the staff made various excuses and did not pay. Inside the Mong Kok shop, officers seized 5,007 fake HK$1,000 (US$128) notes. Another 2,600 fake HK$1,000 notes were found in the Sham Shui Po shop. Neither of the two shops held a money service operator licence to carry out a remittance or money changing service. The licences and business registration certificates on display in the two shops were fake. Read more

Police warn public against counterfeit HK$500 and HK$1,000 banknotes circulating in the market during Lunar New Year

Police urged the public to be wary of counterfeit HK$500 and HK$1,000 banknotes in the market during the Lunar New Year. During the first 10 months of 2019, the total number has increased by 29% and 46% respectively as compared to 2018.

There is online rumour recently that there are many HK$1,000 counterfeit banknotes purportedly issued by Bank of China. All of them contain the same serial number of ‘DU580682’.

Police advise the public to go to Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s website to familiarise themselves with the design of the genuine banknotes. If any counterfeit banknotes were found, they should inform the police immediately. Read more

The new £20 note unveiled

Today, Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of the new £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner. It will be issued for the first time on 20 February 2020. The polymer £20 note contains sophisticated security features making it the most secure Bank of England banknote yet. For the first time, the note incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

The new £20 note will be the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s Chief Cashier.

She said: "The new £20 is an important part of our commitment to providing banknotes that people can use with confidence. Our polymer notes are much harder to counterfeit and, with the £20 being our most common note, this marks a big step forward in our fight against counterfeiting. I hope the public will look forward to spending their new Turner £20s from February next year." Read more