| HONG KONG, March 12
HONG KONG, March 12 A Hong Kong public housing
tenant was jailed for 10 years on Tuesday for laundering more
than HK$6.8 billion ($877 million) through nine banks, just two
months after a Chinese man was imprisoned in the Asian financial
centre's biggest such case.
Lam Mei-ling, 61, laundered the money between 2002 and 2005
with about 39,500 bank transfers, the Court of First Instance
The defendant said she made the transfers on behalf of an
unidentified woman, from her home town in Dongguan in southern
China's Guangdong province near Hong Kong, who used to babysit
her daughter before becoming a factory owner.
Lam, who pleaded not guilty, had testified that she was
illiterate and had been told to transfer the money to other
mainland factory owners.
The money was laundered through Standard Chartered, Hang
Seng Bank, Chiyu Bank, National Commercial Bank, Hua Chiao
Commercial Bank, Dao Heng Bank, First Commercial Bank, Hua Nan
Bank and Bank of East Asia, local media reported, citing court
Lam received occasional monthly payments of around HK$4,500
for laundering the money, the Court of First Instance heard.
Justice Andrew Chan said that although the defendant was not
the mastermind, she was not unaware of what she was doing.
Lam was arrested in 2008 after a citizen of the Netherlands
filed a fraud complaint related to HK$300,000 that resulted in
two of her bank accounts being investigated and the discovery of
the laundering, local media said.
As a free financial centre, Hong Kong has become a popular
place for Chinese to set up companies and conduct business, in
some cases to obscure their assets through money-laundering.
In January, a 22-year-old delivery man from Guangdong
province was jailed for 10 and a half years for laundering
HK$13.1 billion ($1.7 billion) between August 2009 and April
Luo Juncheng laundered about HK$50 million a day through a
corporate account set up with Chiyu Banking Corp.
Last year, the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit - a
specialist police and anti-money laundering group - received
23,282 reports of suspicious transactions, up 45 percent from
16,062 cases reported in 2009.
($1 = HK$7.76)
(Reporting by Grace Li; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree)