“So it’s basically like an air bubble under the carpet,” he said. “Once you press down on one side of the carpet the air bubble moves to the other.”
The situation surrounding terrorist financing is less of a concern, according to the report, which described Hong Kong as having a “medium-low” risk level.
The report was issued ahead of a visit by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, the global standard bearer for fighting money laundering and terrorist financing, planned for later this year.
The United States has in recent years pushed for a stronger global regime against money laundering and terror financing and has used sanctions and penalties to spread the message, Williamson said, which has caused governments to beef up their financial defenses.
“So I don’t think it’s just a local reaction to the challenges that there are here,” he said of Hong Kong’s stance. “It’s clearly in line as well with an increased regulatory regime around this globally.’