The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) jointly hosted today (21 April) a high-level sharing session on anti-deception efforts. The session was opened by Mr Arthur Yuen, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA and Mr Raymond Siu Chak-yee, Commissioner of Police, bringing together senior representatives from the HKMA, the HKPF and retail banks to explore new and innovative approaches to further enhance the ecosystem response to fraud.
The session highlighted the common purpose of both public and private sectors in addressing the elevated threats especially from digital fraud, which put customers’ monies at risk globally and harm confidence in financial services. There was also strong support for further joint efforts with all stakeholders in the fight against deception to collectively prevent the abuse of the financial system for scams and to chase and intercept the illicit proceeds.
In response to the increasing fraud and financial crime risk, the HKMA has been working closely with the HKPF and the banking industry through public-private partnerships. Among others, the Fraud and Money Laundering Intelligence Taskforce (FMLIT) was established by the HKPF, supported by the HKMA, in 2017, with 23 retail banks, including all virtual banks, currently participating. With information sharing and data analytics, banks identified over 21,000 previously unknown mule accounts since establishment, and took prompt actions while supporting law enforcement investigations. This collaboration helped increase the number of intelligence-led suspicious transaction reports by 319% in 2022 compared with 2021, leading to an increase of 113% in criminal proceeds restrained or confiscated. In line with international experience, banks in Hong Kong continued to be the major contributor accounting for over 55,000 suspicious transaction reports (or over 80% of the total) filed in 2022, which provided timely and actionable intelligence assisting criminal investigations.
Building upon the long history of close collaboration among the HKMA, the HKPF and the banking industry, participants are committed to continuing to work closely with all stakeholders to promote public awareness of evolving modus operandi of deception cases and support innovative ways of anti-deception efforts. These include enhancement of Scameter1 alerts to customers for payment transactions, encouraging more banks to adopt data analytics through AMLab2 and other innovative approaches to real time monitoring of suspicious accounts, launching a sharing platform of corporate mule account information among banks, as well as enhancing banks’ contribution to the 24/7 stop-payment mechanism and assistance to investigation work of the HKPF.
The HKMA will continue to work closely with the HKPF, banks and all stakeholders to keep the ecosystem responses up-to-date and relevant in light of the fast changing threat landscape from deception. Alongside this, the HKMA has also recently commenced an AML Suptech pilot on mule account network analytics, testing the use of multi-bank data and technology to help further manage the risks of mule account networks at the systemic level.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
21 April 2023
1 The Scameter is an anti-fraud search engine operated by the HKPF since September 2022, which allows the public to search various data (including bank account numbers, SVF user IDs and phone numbers) and provides a coloured risk-rated response. Where the inputted data is linked to fraud, Scameter helps alert the public to the potential level of risk before making payments or conducting transactions which could potentially expose them to prevalent types of fraud, such as online shopping fraud, investment fraud and romance scams.
2 AML Regtech Lab (AMLab) provides a collaborative platform among the banks, technology firms and experts for ongoing peer group sharing of operational and hands-on experience of Regtech approaches. The first three AMLabs were held in November 2021, July 2022 and November 2022, and the fourth AMLab will be held in late May 2023.