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Members' Circular
25 October 2019

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 (English)

“AMLO Statutory Requirements” course (English) co-organized by our Association and Institute of Professional Education and Knowledge (PEAK) will be held on 7 November 2019 (Thursday night). The senior Compliance Advisor of our Association, Mr. Kenneth Kwan, will be the speaker of the course. 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 can detect irregular or suspicious financial activities and to deepen staff’s understand on the importance of AMLO statutory.

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.

The Customs and Excise Department (“C&ED”) has published a circular to all Money Service Operators (MSOs), to strengthen the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-terrorist Financing regulatory regime of the money service operator (“MSO”) sector, with effect from 18 September 2019, will implement the following new MSO licensing requirements:

Application for an MSO licence is to operate a money service as submitted by licence applicant. Where an MSO licensee has long failed to provide a money service, as indicated in the licence application submitted by the licensee, during the validity period of the licence, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise (“CCE”) may exercise the powers to revoke or suspend the concerned licence
An MSO must lodge a periodic return to the CCE within 2 weeks beginning from each quarter
If an MSO licensee who is required under the licence to operate a money service at particular premises wishes to make a change to operation of a money service without particular premises, the licensee needs to submit an application to notify the CCE of the cessation of the existing business and submit a new application to apply for a licence to operate a money service without particular premises

Our Association advises all money service operators to take note of the above licensing requirements for MSO, to ensure compliance with the regulations

Cantonese opera features on new HK$100 banknotes

Hong Kong’s note-issuing banks launch banknotes featuring designs that evoke the spirit of the ancient performing art. HSBC's note shows a couple of young lovers meeting in a Chinese garden, while Standard Chartered opted for a princess in a Chinese wedding gown with her new husband. BOCHK kept it simple, with a single beautiful young lady in traditional opera costume.

Cantonese opera was listed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco in 2009.

"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Unesco inscription of Cantonese opera, making the launch of this banknote all the more meaningful," said Gao Yingxin, vice-chairman and chief executive of BOCHK. Read More

US$650,000 among cash robbed from money exchange staff on Hong Kong street

About five thieves strike on Ma Tau Wai Road branch of Bank of China in Hung Hom, making off with the victims' money-filled backpacks The ordeal lasted about 10 seconds in what police source says was well-planned attack. The stolen backpack contained US$650,000 and HK$100,000 in total.

Initial investigation showed the suspects were South Asian men and two of them were armed with rods. Two of the employees suffered minor injuries in the attack, but they did not require hospital treatment. The manhunt was continuing and no arrests had been made. Read More

Smoking out the dirty money in Kenya

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) announced that the 1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months' time. A newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbours, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60.

Kenyan authorities said scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money launderers.

Kenya is not the first country to ban high-value notes in an attempt to fight corruption. India, and more recently, the European Central Bank have withdrawn high-value notes that are favoured by criminals. Read More