Banks at HSBC and Citi are disregarding the law ‘to face fines and imprisonment for seven years’, according to a letter from Bloomberg News.
Hong Kong officials have sent threatening bank deposits to Jimmy Lai, who is in prison for seven years if he has any account in the city.
Security Secretary John Lee, who signed the correspondence issued by Bloomberg News, has already announced that he is cooling bank accounts linked to the publisher of the Apple Daily newspaper which is pursuing democracy under Hong Kong’s security laws. The letters were sent to HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc. earlier this month.
Banks that violate the law will “be fined and imprisoned for seven years,” according to the report.
“I am using this force because Lai has been charged with two counts of co-operation with other countries or foreigners to undermine national security,” Lee told a news conference Thursday. “It is my responsibility to announce the parties that will exist if they fail to follow my instructions.”
A Citigroup spokesman said in an email that it does not address other accounts and is required to comply with all applicable laws and markets. A spokesman at HSBC declined to comment.
The letters could also be a source of revenue for the Asian business during Beijing’s campaign. More than 40% of the members surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce say they have left Hong Kong, expressing concern to business people about security laws and government policies related to Covid-19.
Lai, an independent freedom fighter using his Next Digital Ltd. weapons. to support the 2019 protests against China, he is currently in prison for attending illegal gatherings in Hong Kong. They should also be charged with serious offenses in accordance with the security law, including “cooperation” with external parties.
A financial adviser in Lai said the amount of money listed was small but represented Hong Kong’s end of a series of global economic relations, according to Reuters, which also said it had previously held letters.