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False declaration on permanent departure is a crime

False declaration on permanent departure is a crime

Making a false claim for early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong is a criminal offence

In general, scheme members are entitled to withdraw their MPF benefits when they reach the age of 65. Under certain special circumstances, scheme members may withdraw MPF benefits before the age of 65. One of those circumstances is when scheme members depart from Hong Kong permanently to reside elsewhere with no intention of returning for employment or resettling in Hong Kong as a permanent resident.

The MPFA would like to remind scheme members that it is a criminal offence to make a false statement to trustees for early withdrawal of MPF benefits. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment on the first conviction, and to a fine of $200,000 and two years’ imprisonment on each subsequent conviction.

In addition to reports from the public, the MPFA will be notified by trustees when they received requests from scheme members for early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong. The MPFA will initiate proactive investigations into suspicious cases. During the five-year period from 2013-14 to 2018-19, following MPFA’s investigation, over 400 scheme members who made false declarations to withdraw MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong were convicted.

The MPFA calls on scheme members through TV programmes to take note of the above and refrain from unlawful conduct.


Stay alert to crime syndicates who abet scheme members in making false statutory declarations

Apart from proactive investigations into suspicious cases, the MPFA also unearths suspected non-compliance cases through different sources, including complaints from the public and referrals from trustees. The MPFA once uncovered a crime syndicate, allegedly representing a finance company, claiming they could help scheme members withdraw their MPF benefits. The syndicate did so by abetting scheme members in making false statutory declarations on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong and in return charged a commission or handling fee. Please refer to the Landmark Cases for details of the case.

The MPFA alerts scheme members not to fall prey to these syndicates and risk breaching the law. They should also be vigilant against unsolicited calls and not to disclose personal information to any unknown third party. The MPFA maintains close contact with the Police and trustees and will continue to work with them to combat such crimes.


Early withdrawal of MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong is allowed only once in a lifetime

Under the MPF legislation, scheme members are allowed to make an early withdrawal of their MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong only once in a lifetime. A scheme member who later returns to Hong Kong and becomes employed or self-employed will be required to enrol in an MPF scheme and make contributions again, but will no longer be allowed to withdraw MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong again.

Please note that the MPFA keeps a register of all scheme members who have previously withdrawn their MPF benefits on the grounds of permanent departure from Hong Kong. If a scheme member requests to withdraw MPF benefits on the same grounds again, the trustee will be notified by the MPFA that the scheme member had withdrawn benefits on this grounds before and will not release benefits to the scheme member.


Early withdrawal of MPF benefits will affect scheme members’ retirement protection

The MPF System is set up to help scheme members accumulate savings during employment and plan ahead for retirement. The MPF is a long-term investment. While the monthly contributions a scheme member makes may not seem much, the accumulation over the years coupled with the compounding effect can provide scheme members with extra savings for their retirement. The compounding effect refers to the interest generated from the principal being reinvested with the principal again to generate even more interest. As early withdrawal of MPF benefits greatly undermines the compounding effect, the MPFA reminds scheme members not to make early withdrawal of their MPF benefits lightly in order to avoid affecting their retirement savings.




Last Revision Date: 30/04/2019