HONG KONG, Oct. 24 (Reuters) – Hong Kong banks are being asked to disclose related assets of customers who violate the city’s national security law, according to the latest guidelines from its banking association.
The notice was featured in an October 22 update of the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism, which was posted on the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) website.
Banks must disclose assets held by any customer arrested or charged with an offense endangering national security or when they know or suspect that an asset is “offense-related asset” after receiving information from them. law enforcement agencies, in accordance with the clause.
A spokesperson for the HKMA said that the HKMA and the banking industry occasionally discuss implementation issues with stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies in areas of anti-corruption. money laundering and terrorist financing, in accordance with international practice.
“The FAQs are updated in accordance with our usual practice of responding to questions posed by banks,” the spokesperson said.
The HKAB did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
China imposed national security legislation on Hong Kong on June 30 last year, making anything Beijing considers subversion, secession, terrorism, or collusion with foreign forces punishable by a life sentence.
Three months later, the banking association added five clauses to the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism FAQs, informing banks of their reporting obligations under the law, how they must deal with law enforcement requests and guidelines regarding group-wide information sharing.
Transactions suspected of being related to the law should be treated in the same way as transactions suspected of money laundering or terrorist financing, according to the clauses at the time.
The FAQs are not official guidelines but apply to both Hong Kong banks and international banks.
Reporting by Kane Wu; Editing by Kim Coghill
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