Police accuse teen busted on drug charges of links to frozen protester fund Spark Alliance

Police brief the press on the arrest of a teenager they say is linked to a pro-democracy crowdfunding platform whose accounts were frozen last year. Screengrab via Facebook.
Police brief the press on the arrest of a teenager they say is linked to a pro-democracy crowdfunding platform whose accounts were frozen last year. Screengrab via Facebook.

Police on Wednesday night accused an unemployed teenager arrested on drug possession charges this week of being linked to a now-frozen fund founded by pro-democracy activists and aimed at securing crowdfunding to support anti-government protesters last year.

Speaking at a press briefing last night, police alleged that the 18-year-old arrestee had “some unusual and suspicious bank transaction records” relating to a shell company associated with Spark Alliance, a crowdfunding platform that solicited donations and provided money for things like protest gear and subsidizing arrested protesters’ legal fees.

The fund was frozen in December and four members linked to it were arrested for alleged money laundering.

Police said they arrested the 18-year-old on Tuesday evening at Nam Sham Estate, in Shek Kip Mei, and maintained that his financial records showed a handful of transactions worth some HK$48,000 (about US$6,200) over the course of a few weeks in October and November last year with the company.

Officers added that around HK$10,000 in cash was seized in his possession.

Police said they deemed the transactions with the Spark Alliance-affiliated company “unusual” as the suspect did not have transactions of that kind in the past.

The force also said the suspected the teen of selling drugs to a man and two women, aged between 26 and 35 years old, who were arrested on the same day for alleged drug possession.

“A total of 5.2 grams of ketamine, 4.7 grams of cocaine and 3 grams of marijuana are seized in this operation with a market value of HK$8,000,” Superintendent Chan Wai-kei, of the police’s Financial Investigation said.

Some HK$70 million in funds linked to Spark Alliance were frozen in December, and police arrested four people in connection with the account, seizing HK$1.3 million in cash, along with six arrows, two laser pointers, and supermarket vouchers valued at $HKD1.6 million.

Police, however, were vague about the nature of the alleged money laundering, which under Hong Kong law is often defined in relation to drug trafficking or terrorist financing. At the time, the force said they were suspicious of the activities of a shell company that controlled the frozen account whose transactions and investments were allegedly “incommensurate” with the stated purpose of its business.

 

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