The Hong Kong Financial Services and Treasury (FSTB) has released its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Report. The report comes amid an increasingly tense debate on whether the city is adequately combatting financial crime. The number of suspicious transactions has quadrupled in the past six years, while convictions have gone down.
At the same time, businesses around Hong Kong have been complaining that they are being denied banking services on a large scale because of the banks’ overreaching fear of money laundering risks. This has particularly hit the cryptocurrency community hard.
The full report, available online, also touches on the risk of cryptocurrencies, named “virtual currencies” by the Hong Kong government. The report stresses that no specific regulation exists around cryptocurrency trading, and Money Service Operators licenses only have to be obtained for money services conducted in fiat currencies.