Former Hong Kong lawmaker rejects HSBC’s explanation over frozen accounts

Monitoring Desk

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Former Hong Kong lawmaker Ted Hui has renewed his criticism of HSBC for freezing his local bank accounts even after the global bank’s chief executive, Noel Quinn, wrote to him to explain the circumstances of the change.

Hui, who fled Hong Kong late last year after facing criminal charges over pro-democracy protests in the Asian financial hub, disclosed some of the contents of Quinn’s message in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“Has HSBC followed professional procedures of screening, asking, finding and evaluating?” Hui asked on Facebook, regarding actions he expected of the bank before freezing the accounts.

“I openly hold HSBC accountable for answering these important questions.”

In Quinn’s letter sent last week, he had sought to explain why HSBC was unable to operate the bank and credit card accounts and said the bank was legally obliged to take action after notification from local authorities, Hui wrote.

In December, the former lawmaker had said accounts held by him and his family appeared to have been frozen after he said he would seek exile in Britain to continue his pro-democratic activities.

In his Facebook post, Hui asked HSBC to explain why members of his family were also “collectively punished”.

Hui did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. HSBC declined to comment on specific accounts.

Authorities in the former British colony have launched a massive crackdown on the pro-democracy opposition since Beijing imposed a contentious national security law in June.

In August last year, Reuters reported that global banks were examining whether clients in Hong Kong had ties to the pro-democracy movement, in a bid to avoid becoming embroiled in security laws.

Courtesy: Reuters