There are no precise indications as to the amount of illegally-obtained funds in the world's banking system. The flow of funds from offshore centres to western banks provides some indication. This rose from $350 billion in 1986 to $500 billion in 1989. Specialists in narcotics trade believe that over 50% of this constitutes illegally-obtained funds, the rest being unpaid taxes and flight capital.
In 1994, transactions totalling 13.8 billion Hong Kong dollars ($US 1.8 million) were reported by banks in Hong Kong as being 'suspicious'. This voluntary reporting system is considered to only uncover a fraction of the illicit money travelling through the territory. The vast majority of the such funds can be construed as money laundering from other Asian countries. It is reported that a substantial amount comes from payoffs to officials as part of large infrastructure projects in South-east Asian countries.