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Hong Kong chief has ‘piles of money’ at house after US sanctions

Hong Kong’s chief has mentioned she is being compelled to obtain her wage in money due to US sanctions, saying she has no entry to banking providers regardless of the prevalence of mainland Chinese language establishments within the metropolis.

Carrie Lam, who the US sanctioned alongside 14 different Chinese and Hong Kong officials over Beijing’s imposition of a nationwide safety legislation on the territory in June, mentioned she was sitting on “piles of money” at house.

As a part of the measures, the US has threatened secondary sanctions towards monetary establishments that proceed to cope with the people, a doubtlessly crippling prospect even for mainland Chinese language banks due to their have to deal in {dollars}.

“Sitting in entrance of you is a chief govt of [Hong Kong] who has no banking providers made out there to her. I’m utilizing money on a regular basis, for all of the issues,” Ms Lam mentioned in a tv interview on Hong Kong Worldwide Enterprise Channel.

“I’ve piles of money at house, the federal government is paying me money for my wage as a result of I don’t have a checking account.”

When the sanctions have been first introduced, each worldwide and Chinese language state-owned banks in Hong Kong feared they could fall foul of a clause within the nationwide safety legislation that bans “colluding” with a international authorities to impose sanctions on Hong Kong.

However given the primacy of the US greenback within the Swift world cross-border monetary transaction system, analysts mentioned establishments have been compelled to adjust to Washington’s sanctions.

Ms Lam mentioned it was “an honour” to be “unjustifiably sanctioned by the US authorities”.

Ms Lam’s workplace was contacted for touch upon whether or not she had additionally been refused accounts by Chinese language state-owned banks. Her place entitles her to an annual wage of HK$5.2m (US$672,000).

Bernard Chan, one among Ms Lam’s prime advisors, told the Financial Times in July an unnamed financial institution closed one among his accounts earlier than the legislation was launched as he was a “politically uncovered individual”, and that it was changing into tougher for Hong Kong officers to open accounts.

Corporations working in Hong Kong have additionally complained that the native authorities have given them answers with insufficient details on tips on how to keep away from prosecution below the nationwide safety legislation.

A authorities survey taken between June and September registered for the primary time in 11 years a discount within the variety of international companies working in Hong Kong. The survey discovered 9,025 corporations had workplaces in Hong Kong in contrast with 9,040 the earlier 12 months.

Solely 15 per cent of the businesses mentioned that they had plans to increase within the metropolis in 2020, whereas final 12 months 23 per cent anticipated an enlargement.

Enterprise has additionally been spooked by anti-government protests in Hong Kong and the pandemic, which for a lot of has halted their entry to their mainland Chinese language operations.

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