In a surprise move, legislators yesterday rejected a government proposal to require arriving travellers to make a declaration if the money they carry in exceeds HK$120,000.
The plan had been intended to bring Hong Kong up to international standards in terms of combating money laundering.
But at yesterday’s meeting of the Legislative Council’s security panel, pan-democrats joined their pro-establishment rivals to criticise the move as hostile to tourists and press the government to lift the HK$120,000 level or do away with the plan.
The proposal stemmed from a recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that sets legal and regulatory standards to combat money laundering and related crimes. It recommended a threshold of US$15,000 (HK$116,000) for declaration.
Hong Kong is the only member of the task force that has not set up a declaration system for physical cross-boundary transportation of large quantities of money.