New law backs crackdown on money laundering in 2018: MOI

A total of 501 money laundering cases involving 1,337 suspects and some NT$2.1 billion (US$68 million) were cracked in the first 11 months of 2018, according to the Ministry of the Interior figures. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Money laundering has emerged as the third largest category of economic crime in Taiwan this year following a crackdown on the practice driven by a legal revision passed in 2017, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) said on Dec. 29.

A total of 501 money laundering cases involving 1,337 suspects and some NT$2.1 billion (US$68 million) were cracked in the first 11 months of 2018, according to MOI figures.

That compares to only 51 money laundering cases involving 274 suspects and NT$1.33 billion were solved during the same period of 2017, MOI figures showed.

The MOI attributed the increase to an amendment to the Money Laundering Control Act that took effect on June 28, 2017, which expanded the scope of anti-money laundering investigations, laid down stricter rules for high-ranking officials, and strengthened international police cooperation.

A total of 6,597 economic crime cases were cracked in the January to November period this year, with 60 percent of them involving the infringement of intellectual property rights, according to MOI data.

Another 709 cases, or 10.7 percent, involved violations of financial regulations, including loan shark operations, illegal debt collection, and illegal financial transactions.

The MOI said that the number of economic crime cases detected by Taiwan’s law enforcement authorities has fallen steadily in the past five years from a recent high of 10,293 cases in 2013.

By Wang Cheng-chung and Chi Jo-yao