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Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021

Hong Kong church pastor says HSBC froze personal and charity bank accounts

Hong Kong church pastor says HSBC froze personal and charity bank accounts

The pastor of a Hong Kong church says HSBC has frozen bank accounts belonging to him, his wife and the church’s charity.
Ray Chan said the freezing was an act of “political retaliation” on the part of authorities for assistance provided by his church to young protesters. It came as police arrested more opposition figures.

On Monday the accounts of former legislator Ted Hui and his family were refrozen under police orders, after they left Hong Kong to live in exile in the UK. On Tuesday Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, accused Hui of having lied to the courts to “jump bail”.

In an open letter to HSBC and its executives, the Good Neighbour North District Church urged the bank to unfreeze the accounts of pastor Chan, his wife and the church’s charity. The church said the HSBC accounts were their only accounts, and their freezing would lead to the termination of its hostel services for homeless people in Hong Kong.

On Tuesday afternoon, Chan revealed he and his family had left Hong Kong and were in the UK on what he termed a “sabbatical”. In a Facebook video he said the family now had no financial support and returning to Hong Kong now seemed impossible.

Chan said the public donations to the church were legal, but did not say if there was any investigation ongoing. He said HSBC had become “a tool for the regime’s attempt to take political revenge via economic oppression”.

“All dissenting voices, despite their peaceful and rational expressions, are disallowed,” he said, and called on people “protect the core values of Hong Kong and voice your concerns over the regime’s attempt to manoeuvre private properties”.

The church also demanded an explanation from HSBC and accused the bank of “exploiting the well-established independent financial system and sabotaging the benefits of individuals and groups of Hong Kong, as well as foreign investors within the territory”.

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