As an international financial centre, Hong Kong has long been playing a key role in embracing free trade, facilitating money movements, and allowing businesses from across the world to operate at ease. In order to further combat money laundering and other illegal means of collecting or providing funds for terrorist purposes, the Customs and Excise Department will, with effect from 1 April 2023, implement a new registration regime for dealers in precious metals and stones, requiring dealers who undertake transactions of precious metals and stones valued at HK$120,000 or more, to register with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, and to abide by their legal responsibilities in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In this connection, we have invited Ms Bronia Yip, Chairperson of Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers’ Association (HKJMA), to analyse the impact the legislation would have on the industry, as well as the industry’s assessments of the new measures.
Industry supports the legislation in enhancing trade practice
At the end of last year, the Legislative Council passed the amendment bill for instituting the registration regime for dealers in precious metals and stones. The new regime represents a further step in perfecting Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering measures, preventing criminals from making any such illegal moves. As such, Ms Yip applauds the new arrangement, noting that the industry is in support of the legislation.
“Although the legislation would entail additional work in its implementation, Hong Kong is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, and has the obligation to support any such legislation,”Ms Yip notes. “The new registration regime provides for guides to follow in such transactions. Furthermore, there are stipulated sanctions that discourage illegal acts, and provide for a more secure trading environment.”
Legislation secures industry compliance
Jewelry manufacturers frequently handle valuable precious stones, with transactions involving substantial sums of money in the course of their business. Ms Yip points out that the industry has spared no effort in combating money laundering. In fact, transactions in our industry seldom involve cash, and customers are mostly long-term partners. The industry has also maintained close contact and liaison internally, and would raise alert on suspicious customers, thereby minimizing money laundering threats.
“We take this legislation amendment seriously and will collaborate closely with the Customs and Excise Department,” Ms Yip elaborates. “We shall remind and guide our members to comply with new guidelines, urge them to stay vigilant to large cash transactions, and encourage them to seek advice from the authorities when in doubt.”