Macau Police Arrests Cross-border Money Laundering Group for Illicit Financing of HK1.1 Billion

  • Richard Marley
  • May 26, 2022
  • 3 minutes read
  • 1028

A group of 22 individuals were arrested by authorities in Macau and HK for suspicions of being involved in cross-border money laundering worth HK$1.1 billion.

A total of 22 people were arrested in Macau and HK by authorities from both SARs for suspicions of being involved in a cross-border money laundering criminal group said to have handled close to HK$1.1 billion (US$136 million) in illicit funds, police authorities revealed today (Wednesday).

Police authorities revealed on Wednesday, May 25 that they have identified a criminal ring responsible for opening over 100 bank accounts in Hong Kong and sending individuals to Macau for the purpose of withdrawing cash using Hong Kong ATM cards.

Following the investigation, authorities found the criminal group of 22 individuals, five of which were detained in Macau, including two Hong Kong residents, two locals, and a mainland employee.

The group planned to use the money to carry out cryptocurrency transactions through a telecommunications store in Macau, and then transfer the funds back to Hong Kong banks. 

According to authorities, the criminal gang started operating in October 2020 with members opening over 181 bank accounts in Hong Kong to receive and manage funds obtained from telecom scams carried out in Hong Kong or overseas, including in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zeland.

That same year the group started to operate in Macau, using over 100 Hong Kong ATM cards to withdraw large amounts of money from local ATMs, which was used to purchase cryptocurrency “via a telecom store in Macau”, which would then be sold in an overseas platform.

The money obtained from these transactions would then be deposited back to Hong Kong accounts, and again withdrawn from Macau ATM machines, in order to conceal the illicit origin of the funds.

The group is believed to have withdrawn a total of HK$380 million in both SARs. During the investigation, two suspects admitted coming to Macau to withdraw money with their own accounts and their relative accounts and then buying cryptocurrency but deny these funds were related to illicit schemes.

The two suspects were believed to have received a total of HK$1.89 million of fraudulent money in their own bank accounts, and made more than 1,000 withdrawals in half a year, involving no less than HK$28 million.

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