In an attempt to help stop illegal money laundering, legislators in Macau have approved a government-proposed measure that is set to introduce a currency declaration scheme for all high-value individuals traveling to and from the city.
The legislation passed by the 33-member Legislative Assembly on Wednesday is due to come into effect from November 1 and will see travelers entering or leaving the former Portuguese enclave required to declare to the Macau Customs Service any cash or other “negotiable monetary instruments” they may be holding worth in excess of approximately $15,000.
The measure, which has been designed to help officials stop criminals from illegally funneling cash into China from Macau, would also cover travelers’ checks and gold coins and would institute fines ranging from $124 up to $62,280 for those found guilty of failing to comply. The legislation additionally calls for submitted customs declarations to be kept for five years after which time they are to be destroyed if no suspicion of wrongdoing subsequently comes to the attention of authorities.
Local television and radio broadcaster Teledifusao De Macau reported that subsidiary regulations establishing the trigger amount for any such customs declarations, which would moreover encompass checks made payable to the holder, are to be published before the new measure comes into effect in November.
“This will allow the government to have enough time to promote the law in all checkpoints across Macau and through various media platforms,” Alex Vong Iao Lek, Director-General for the Macau Customs Service, told Teledifusao De Macau.
The new rule is one of a series of anti-money laundering recommendations made in October by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force while last month saw all casinos in Macau asked to install facial recognition software in their cash machines as a way to help stop the practice of proxy betting.
Authorities across the border in China have been no less proactive after recently announcing a policy that will require information on every overseas cash withdrawal or merchant transaction exceeding $147 to be submitted to the State Administration Of Foreign Exchange. This new regulation is to apply to transactions made using any mainland-issued bank card including debit and credit cards.
“Following the increasing demand to collaborate internationally on anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing and to counter tax invasion, there is a need to enhance the transparency of the statistics of cross-border transactions on bank cards as well as the quality of such data,” read a statement from the State Administration Of Foreign Exchange.