Law Ming-sum

Before: H H Judge Geiser

Date: 4 March 2011 at 2.36 pm

Present: Mr Mark Sutherland, Counsel on fiat, for HKSAR
Mr Paul Wu, instructed by Messrs Deannie Yew & Associates, assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence: (1)-(3) Dealing with property known or reasonably believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence


Reasons for Sentence


1. Defendant, you have been convicted after trial of three offences of dealing with property known or reasonably believed to representthe proceeds of an indictable offence, contrary to section 25(1) and (3) of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 455, Laws of Hong Kong, the three offences, spanning as they did a period of some two years from 4 July 2007 to 28 July 2009.

2. The background to the offences have been adequately covered in my reasons for verdict, which I do not wish to repeat, save to saythat the underlying offence of these three offences of money laundering concerned the charging of excessive rates of interest onloans taken out by individuals from a Mr Ku. The debtors were instructed to make the repayments of capital and interest into nominatedbank accounts opened up by them and to hand over the ATM cards’ PIN numbers and internet devices to an unknown person.

3. You were found in possession by the police of the ATM cards to the three accounts mentioned in the charges, and I have found asa fact that you withdrew money from these three accounts with the use of these cards variously on 20 November 2008 and 28 July 2009. Of course it is quite correct to say, as your counsel has by way of mitigation, that there is no direct evidence to say that youdealt with all of the moneys in these three accounts as appearing in the charges, and you can rest assure that I do not sentenceyou on that basis.

4. Money laundering is a serious offence as it is an attempt to legitimise proceeds from criminal activities. However, with regardto this criminal enterprise, the evidence adduced at trial suggests that others may have been involved and you may not necessarilyhave been the mastermind. However, the fact that you were involved is beyond peradventure.

5. There are no sentencing guidelines with regard to money laundering offences due to the diversity of conduct that it can involve,and I do also accept from your counsel that whilst serious, the circumstances of this case can be distinguished from other caseswhere large amounts of money have been laundered from other more heinous offences such as drug trafficking.

6. I also take account of the fact that in this case there is no evidence of any international dimension or sophisticated planning. Nevertheless, a deterrent sentence is to be called for, and a custodial sentence is inevitable for offences of this nature.

7. Taking everything into account, with regard to Charge 1, I impose a sentence of 2½ years’ imprisonment. On Charge 2 and 3, youwill be sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment on each of those charges.

8. Taking into account the question of totality to reflect the criminality involved, I order the sentences to run concurrently witheach other, arriving at a total sentence of 2½ years’ imprisonment.

H H Judge Geiser
District Judge