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Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 17603319
Project Title(English) : An Empirical Study of Money Laundering Offending in Hong Kong 
Project Title(Chinese) : 香港洗錢罪案之實證研究 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof Young, Simon Ngai Man 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) : 楊艾文 
Department : Department of Law
Institution : The University of Hong Kong
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exercise Year : 2019 / 20
Fund Approved : 719,984
Project Status : On-going
Completion Date : 31-12-2021
Abstract as per original application
(English/Chinese):
I aim to study money laundering offending in Hong Kong, its causes, typologies and implications for law reform. I am interested in why and how money laundering is done in Hong Kong and how our criminal law captures offenders within its net. My main question is whether there should be alternative legal measures not involving criminal prosecution and punishment to address money laundering in non-high profile cases. Would such alternative measures be sufficiently effective to be compatible with Hong Kong's international commitments and would they be acceptable to the local community? Prosecutors can bring money laundering cases in one of three levels of court: (1) High Court, where the maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment, (2) District Court, maximum of 7 years imprisonment, and (3) Magistrates Court, maximum of 3 years imprisonment. I will study cases prosecuted in the District Court and, where judgments are available, the Magistrates Court. There are approximately 600 District Court money laundering decisions (English and Chinese) in the Hong Kong Judiciary's database available since 2009. The decisions are of two kinds: reasons for sentence, typically where there has been a guilty plea, and reasons for verdict (guilty and not guilty). I will read and analyse these decisions both qualitatively and quantitatively. I aim to generate a body of knowledge of the characteristics of offenders who commit money laundering, the ways in which they commit the offence (typologies), their motivations and reasons for offending, the sentences imposed, the cases in which the prosecution could only prove the lower standard of having reasonable grounds to believe, and the circumstances giving rise to acquittals. From these empirical findings, I will publish at least one referred output in an international journal. I also plan to use the empirical findings to inform law reform thinking, particularly the feasibility of introducing non-criminal law measures to address money laundering. The offence is often criticised for casting the net of criminal liability too wide. From interviews with experienced defence lawyers, prosecutors, law enforcement agents and other government officials, I hope to gain their perspectives on possible alternative measures such as civil penalties, injunctions, disqualifications, confiscation and other coercive orders. The knowledge gained from these interviews will help to frame and assess reform options. I will publish at least one referred output in an international journal that discusses reform options and their compatibility with international standards.
筆者希望探討在香港洗錢罪案的現況、起因、類型,以及後續可能的法律改革。筆者對於洗錢罪案為何和如何在香港發生,以及我們的刑事司法系統如何將罪犯繩之於法的問題特別感興趣。筆者的主要問題在於為何應以替代性的且不牽涉刑事檢控和刑罰的法律措施去處理一些較為不受關注的案件。這些替代性的措施是否足夠配合香港的國際責任?這些措施是否被本地社區所接納?檢控官可以在以下三個級別的法院就洗錢案件提訴:(1)高等法院,其可判處最高刑罰為監禁十四年;(2)區域法院,其可判處最高刑罰為監禁七年;(3)裁判法院,其可判處最高刑罰為監禁三年。筆者研究了在區域法院和有判決可供參考的裁判法院的洗錢案件。現時,香港司法機構的資料庫收載了從二零零九年起計的大約六百宗區域法院的中英判決。這些判決可分為兩個類型:判刑理由(通常於被告認罪時發下),和裁決理由(罪成與否)。筆者將研讀,並從質性和量性角度分析這些判決。筆者希望能歸納出一包含以下資訊之知識體系:犯下洗錢罪行之涉事者的特質、犯案的形式(類型)、犯案動機和理由、被判處刑罰、控方只能證明被告有理由相信的較低舉證程度的情況,以及引致被告脫罪的因素。就這些實證研究結果,筆者將於設同儕審查的國際學術期刊發表最少一份論文。筆者亦希望以這些研究結果推動尤其是關於以非刑事措施處理洗錢的可行性方面之法律改革。洗錢罪行素來被指刑網過闊,透過訪問有經驗的辯護律師、檢控官、執法人員和其他政府官員,筆者希望就可能的替代性措施,例如民事懲罰、禁制令、資格取消、沒收、和其他強制命令等,取得他們的觀點。從訪談中歸納出的資料將有助塑造及評估法律改革方案。筆者將於設同儕審查的國際學術期刊發表最少一份探討法律改革方案及其與國際水平相容性的論文。
Research Outcome
Layman's Summary of
Completion Report:
Not yet submitted

  SCREEN ID: SCRRM00542