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Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property

Legal Measures for Targeting the Proceeds of Crime

Edited by Simon N.M. Young

In this book, which is the first of its kind, leading experts examine the civil and criminal forfeiture systems in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the fight against organized crime and international money laundering, there is a global trend for countries to enact forfeiture and confiscation laws that are applied through the civil process rather than the traditional criminal justice system. The authors gathered here analyze the appeal these civil forfeiture laws have for governments for their potential to disrupt criminal organizations and for their quantifiable benefits to the state. But without the usual safeguards of the criminal process, civil forfeiture laws are controversial, attracting constitutional challenges, particularly on human rights grounds.
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Chapter 10: Civil Forfeiture for Hong Kong: Issues and Prospects

Simon N.M. Young


Simon N.M. Young* INTRODUCTION While under British rule, Hong Kong enacted confiscation laws to ensure that those who committed serious offences would not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their criminal wrongdoing. The laws were passed in two separate legislative exercises beginning in 1989, when the proceeds of drug trafficking were targeted, and followed in 1994, when serious crimes more generally were targeted. Both laws enabled law enforcement and prosecutors to obtain judicial orders to restrain and confiscate assets as part of a criminal case. These criminal confiscation laws were based on those which then existed in the United Kingdom. The motivations for these laws, however, were specific to the problems with dangerous drugs, triad societies, and organized criminal activities that afflicted Hong Kong at the time.1 In the first decade of being a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong has seen very little development in its laws and policies governing the confiscation of criminal assets. With the exceptions of mutual legal assistance legislation enacted in 1997 and anti-terrorist financing laws enacted in 2002–2004, Hong Kong has fallen behind most advanced societies in devel* The work described in this chapter was fully supported by a grant from the Central Policy Unit of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter HKSAR), China (Project No. HKU 7023-PPR-20051). I would like to thank Jennifer Stone, with whom I co-authored an earlier discussion paper the contents...

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