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China’s Wildlife Protection Department, TRAFFIC organised training sessions for the anti-money laundering and customs experts, urging them to collaborate to prevent suspicious transactions in the wild species trade.
Financial criminals always leave their footprints behind whilst laundering money. As TRAFFIC emphasised in the report on illegal trade and the banking sector in China, the country’s financial institutes are the primary source for wildlife trade money launderers to disguise their illicit gains through legal frameworks. Many banks in China are enhancing AML compliance systems by fulfilling risk assessments and proactively working with government law enforcement to combat money laundering.
The training session was held at China’s Shanghai Standard Chartered Bank head office. About 240 staff members participated in this session to learn the latest technology and how to strengthen measures to detect illicit activities and uncover wildlife criminal businesses linked with other international crimes. Deputy CEO of SCB China, Mr. Yin Wang, stated, “Combatting the illegal wild species trade requires unique expertise. It is an important component of anti-money laundering efforts, which is an essential part of compliance.” He added that financial institutions should strengthen customer due diligence processes and implement adequate AML verification to detect and prevent illegal wildlife trade. He also emphasised the importance of cooperation between financial institutions and law enforcement agencies.
The training included AML regulations experts, including Professor Xin WANG from the Law School of Peking University, who highlighted how China’s Crime Law has changed and been applied to money laundering crimes since 1997. Moreover, a Shanghai Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau (ASB) specialist also provided ideas on successfully upholding rigorous international obligations and shared difficulties experienced by law enforcement personnel during financial inspections. AML Project Manager of TRAFFIC China, Linda CHOU, discussed the indicators of smuggling in wild animals and wood, including typical traits, payment options, criminal hotspots, high-risk business sectors, and customer information that might point to suspect business dealings.
More than 100 Shanghai Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau employees participated in the training to widen their law enforcement. Professor Wang forced both departments to work together and emphasised how the joint government enforcement investigation agencies can adequately safeguard the integrity of the global financial ecosystem. He highlighted how banking compliance will identify cross-border transactions and reduce money laundering and terrorist financing risks.