Hong Kong Regulators Set to Tighten Oversight on Bitcoin Exchanges


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Authorities in crypto-friendly Hong Kong have revealed that the nation is making plans to further increase regulatory oversight on bitcoin (BTC) trading venues and crypto-related businesses operating in the state, in accordance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), according to a speech on February 26, 2020.

Hong Kong to Strengthen AML/CTF Rules 

While coronavirus-stricken neighbors, China have since made it clear that bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins are forbidden fruits in its territory, the highly autonomous Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has implemented robust rules that enable it to effectively handle its cryptospace.

In his annual budget speech, Hong Kong Financial Secretary, Paul Chan hinted that the government is looking to further strengthen its anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing regulations in line with the recommendations of the FATF assessment. 

Chan said:

Authorities will further enhance Hong Kong’s AML/CTF regime with regard to the recommendations of the FATF evaluation report, and consider incorporating virtual asset service providers and dealers in precious metals, stones and jewellery into the AML/CTF regulatory framework.

FATF Recommendations

Having embarked on an on-site visit to Hong Kong from October 2018 to November 2018, in September 2019 the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) released the Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation Report of the region.

In the report, the FATF stated in clear terms that Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing regime is very compliant and effective, adding that the region has put in place watertight measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

Though Hong Kong is the first jurisdiction in the Asia Pacific region to pass the FATF assessment, the international financial regulator further made it clear that Hong Kong must take some necessary steps to ensure that it continues to remain in total compliance with the statutes of the FATF.  

The FATF has suggested that Hong Kong authorities must strive to deepen their understanding of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, enhance the implementation of AML/CFT measures, improve suspicious transaction monitoring reporting, among other recommendations.

In related news, as reported by BTCManager in November 2019, Hong Kong’s Securities Futures Commission (SFC) stated through its chair, Ashley Alder that it’s making release clearer regulatory guidelines to govern crypto exchanges in the city.

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