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First scheme member to be sentenced to a probation order for false claim for MPF withdrawal

An MPF scheme member was recently sentenced to a 12-month probation order after being convicted of breaching the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (MPFSO) by making false or misleading statements to two MPF trustees. The scheme member is required to be of good behaviour and to remain in contact with a probation officer and follow instructions as required. This is the first time a defendant was sentenced to a probation order because of breaching of the MPFSO.  

In January 2013, the defendant’s claim to an MPF trustee for early withdrawal of MPF on the ground of permanent departure from Hong Kong was approved. In July 2017, he applied to two MPF trustees for early withdrawal of his MPF on the same ground. The MPFA was informed by the trustees about the applications. Upon investigation, the MPFA discovered that the defendant had made false or misleading statement in the statutory declarations. The MPFA referred the case to the Police and the Department of Justice to initiate prosecution. The court subsequently ruled that the defendant had made false or misleading statements.  

The MPFSO states that an MPF scheme member can apply for early withdrawal of MPF on the ground of permanent departure from Hong Kong, but scheme members can make this claim only once in their lifetime. If a member has exercised this right and subsequently returns to Hong Kong and enrols in another MPF scheme, the member is not allowed to apply for early withdrawal of MPF on the same ground again. Any person making a false or misleading statement in this regard commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment.

In the past, MPF scheme members who were convicted of making a false claim when applying for early withdrawal of MPF on the ground of permanent departure from Hong Kong had been fined or sentenced to community service or imprisonment. In one case in 2014, a member was sentenced to 21 days’ imprisonment.  

An MPFA spokesperson called on MPF scheme members to abide by the law. The MPFA maintains close communication with the Police and relevant Government departments and investigates suspected cases to determine whether applicants have genuinely departed permanently from Hong Kong. The MPFA also keeps a register of all members who have withdrawn their MPF on the ground of permanent departure from Hong Kong to verify whether an applicant has previously made a claim on the same ground. The MPFA will handle all suspicious cases in accordance with the law.

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4 September 2020

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Last Review Date: 04/09/2020