HSBC chief Noel Quinn says not in position to judge motives of HK police legal instruction
HSBC is "not in a position to judge the motives" of Hong Kong police, Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn told British Foreign Affairs Commitee lawmakers questioning him over the lender's freezing of bank accounts of pro-democracy politicians.
Quinn was summoned to the cross-party committee after former Hong Kong lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung criticized HSBC for blocking his local bank accounts.
Quinn said HSBC’s decision to close the accounts of Hui had been driven purely by the need to comply with local laws.
“I’m not in a position as a banker to be able to judge the motives or validity of that legal instruction from a law enforcement authority,” Quinn, says. “I’m not making a moral judgment, it’s not my position to make a moral or political judgment on these matters. I have to comply with the law.”
Hui has criticized HSBC for freezing his family’s bank accounts after he fled the city.
Colin Bell, group chief compliance Officer, HSBC, is also testifying before the panel.
He says he believes that China's national intelligence law "has no extraterrestrial reach'' outside China.
Bell also says he would not provide information from UK bank accounts to China.
The Foreign Affairs Commitee is a cross-party committee of lawmakers appointed by the House of Commons to scrutinize government on foreign policy.