Three Charged Following Illegal Foreign Exchange Operation In St James

Three people were arrested and charged in St James on Friday for allegedly engaging in the illegal trading of foreign exchange.

The accused are Shiyue Zhou, 36-year-old businesswoman and operator of HTC Wholesale, JieQung Zhou, 27, cashier, and 42-year-old Ximei Wong. They are accused of breaching the Bank of Jamaica Act and were each offered station bail in the sum of $300,000.

They are to appear before the St James Parish Court on July 1. The three were held by personnel from the Financial Investigation Division (FID), Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Division (C-TOC) and the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) during an operation in the business district of Montego Bay, that targeted illegal foreign exchange operations. Selvin Hay, Chief Technical Director of the FID, is reminding persons that it is illegal for anyone to engage in the trading of foreign currency without a licence issued by the Bank of Jamaica.

He says the FID and its partners are resolute in the fight against the underground money exchange economy,  which he says provides an avenue for money launders to go undetected and also artificially distorts the official exchange rate.