Category Archives: Compliance

“I am declaring the US$29 million cash in my bag, sir.”

According to the South China Morning Post, billions of Hong Kong dollars have been declared at the borders since new anti-money laundering laws came into force in July this year.

In total, it was estimated that HK$42 billion have been declared thus so far by the 3,500 travellers.

Source: South China Morning Post (2018)

One particular traveller stood out from the rest, carrying an extremely cool amount totaling HK$230 million (or US$29m) in cash! It was reported that: “[the] cash was stored in more than three waterproof bags while being delivered by hand to Hong Kong from an Asian country via sea.” It was reported that the huge wad of cash was closely guarded by hired guards, thankfully.

According to the SCMP, approximately 80% of those making declarations at the borders were from financial institutions, such as banks and money changers. These travellers came to Hong Kong mainly via sea, interestingly, and the rest came via air and a small majority via the land borders.

As previously reported by us back in June this year, cash sniffing dogs from Britain will be employed to sniff out undeclared cash. It appears that these dogs have had limited success since enforcement of this new law, as approximately 15 offenders have been busted carrying amounts over the limit and not declarding them.

For those leaving Hong Kong, you only need to declare amounts over the threshold if requested to do so by officials. As of 16 October 2018, the 3 months’ grace period no longer applies and thus, first-time offenders will be fined HK$2,000.

For repeat offenders? You will be fined HK$500,000 and/or jailed for a maximum of two years without prior warning.

Declare your cash and do not under”woof”stimate the sniffing powers of the canines!

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Hong Kong to employ cash sniffing dogs at border checkpoints

Starting  from 16 July 2018, those entering Hong Kong border checkpoints must declare cash exceeding HK$120,000.00 (US$15,300.00) under the newly implemented Cross-Boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance. 

This new law was passed in June 2017 by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council in a bid to combat money laundering, and is also known internationally as “R32 measures”, according to local media reports.

According to Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department, cash-detecting dogs trained in Britain to detect the crisp scent of cash will be stationed at border crossings, including Hong Kong international airport.

Previously, Hong Kong imposed no restrictions on the inflow and outflow of cash and other bearer negotiable instruments to and from the territory. Therefore this new law will be the first of its kind in Hong Kong.

Failure to declare and disclose amounts exceeding over HK$120,000 may results in monetary fines ranging from  HK$2,000 to HK$500,000, as well as jail time of up to two years.

Since 1991, Hong Kong has been a member of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering, an intergovernmental organization created to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

In total, 40 recommendations were made by the task force to combat money laundering and 9 special recommendations to counter terrorist financing.


For more information on the new requirement for travellers, contact our team at

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