IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 316 OF 2009
Reasons for Sentence
1. You have been convicted by this court after trial of the offence of dealing with property known or believed to represent the proceedsof an indictable offence, contrary to section 5(1) and 25(1) and (3) of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.
2. The amount involved was $3,037,249.90. That sum is the Hong Kong dollar equivalent of a sum of US$380,406.09 that was remitted intothe account of your company, Sun Polo Investment Consultant Limited, on 19 June 2008. That sum represents the proceeds of a theftin the United States of America. A Mr and Mrs Scott had obtained a home equity line of credit of US$400,000 from their bank, theSevern Savings Bank, situated in Baltimore, Maryland.
3. On 16 June 2008, Severn Savings Bank received an application purportedly signed by Mr Scott requesting that a loan of US$380,438.13from the line of credit be deposited into Sun Polo’s US dollar account in Hong Kong. As a result, US$380,406.09 was credited intoSun Polo’s account on 19 June. Neither Mr nor Mrs Scott had applied for this loan nor had they authorised anyone to do so.
4. On the day this sum of money arrived in Hong Kong, you went to the Standard Chartered Bank and converted the US dollars into HK$3,037,249.90,the amount referred to in the charge. During the course of the day, you went from one branch of Standard Chartered Bank to anotherin Kowloon and drew out almost the whole of this sum of Hong Kong dollars in cash.
5. When you were interviewed by the police, you claimed that you believed that this money was being used to finance the purchase ofa Chinese painting by an American named Mark Grande from a mainlander, a Mr Gu Junyang. You admitted that you received a reward ofabout US$20,000 simply for allowing Sun Polo’s bank account to be used to finance the transaction.
6. As I have said in my reasons for verdict, I am satisfied that you knew that that this account was untrue. I am satisfied that youwere well aware that you were dealing with the proceeds of criminal activity. As I also said in my reasons for verdict, I believethat your reward may have been US$19,000 rather than US$20,000 based on documents that were clearly prepared to conceal the truenature of this transaction if inquiries were made.
7. I bear in mind that there is no evidence that you were aware of the exact nature of the criminal offence by which or through whichthis money was obtained. I also bear in mind that although I have heard evidence of another similar transaction with which you wereinvolved, which involved a greater sum of money, it is only for this offence I am now sentencing you.
8. An aggravating feature of your offence is the fact that the original offence was committed in the United States and the proceedsremitted out of the United States to Hong Kong. Presumably this was done to make detection more difficult and possibly persuade thepolice in the United States that the case was not worth pursuing.
9. This was obviously a carefully planned offence. You were involved in the fabrication of documents designed to deceive those whomight investigate what had occurred.
10. Bearing in mind all the circumstances, in my view, the appropriate starting point for this offence is 3½ years’ imprisonment.I find no circumstance that warrants any discount from that sentence. Although you are a man of 65, this is not a case of a man whohas reached that age without committing any previous offence. You have a long criminal record which includes offences of fraud. Asrecently as 2004, you were sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment for an offence of causing a copy of a false instrument, which I amtold related to the use of false letters of credit. The sentence that I pass is 3½ years’ imprisonment.