A court found Lam Mei-Ling guilty of laundering HK$6.7 billionnoun a thousand million from May 2002 until December 2005.
Ms Lam, who is illiterateadjective unable to read or write, is a public housing tenantnoun somebody who rents a flat, house etc.. She said that a factory owner in her home town, Dungguan, gave her money which she then transferred to companies in mainland China.
She received her instructions from a mainland woman who was her former babysitter. She told the court she received occasional payments of around HK$4,500 for her services.
In 2005, the banks closed her accounts but they did not tell the police. Nobody knew where the money had gone. However, in 2008 a Dutchadjective language, nationality or adjective relating to the Netherlands citizen made a fraudnoun the crime of stealing money by tricking people complaint and as a result, police investigated two of Ms Lam’s bank accounts and later arrestverb ( the police) take somebody to the police station because they believe they have committed a crimeed her.
The judge, Andrew Chan, agreed that Lam was not the mastermindnoun the person who plans a crime etc. in detail behind the scheme. However, he said she knew what she was doing and pointed out that the case involved huge sums of money and took place over a long period of time. He said her family background and education level were not mitigatingadjective mitigating (factors / circumstances etc.) facts that explain a crime and make it seem less bad factors.
Lawmaker Ronny Tong questioned whether banks had done enough prevent money laundering. He said the banking regulator should tightenverb (rules) - make rules more difficult to avoid the rules. Tong pointed out that in other countries, banks had been given huge finenoun money that you have to pay as a punishment if you break the laws for money laundering but not in Hong Kong.
Another judge, Esther Toh, said there was an urgent need to reviewverb study something again so you can decide if it is good or not the maximum penalties for the offence. At present these are 14 years' in prison and a finenoun money that you have to pay as a punishment if you break the law of up to HK$5 million.
Hong Kong’s biggest ever money laundering case was in January this year. A delivery man from Guangdong province was convicted of laundering almost HK$13.1bn.