Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, says she currently does not have a bank and keeps stacks of cash in her home thanks to US sanctions. In addition to 14 Chinese and Hong Kong officials, Lam has been beaten with punitive measures that effectively cut her off from the banking system. The US government announced the sanctions following the imposition of the National Security Act on Hong Kong territory.
The US government, through the Office of Foreign Asset Control, can effectively enforce its policy goals against non-US entities by threatening penalties for defiant financial institutions. According to an report, it is this risk of running afoul of US policy that prevents even mainland banks from providing services to the Hong Kong chief.
Lam, who reportedly earns an annual salary of $ 672,000, shared her unusual situation during a television interview. She said:
A general manager sits in front of you [of Hong Kong] which has not provided banking services. I use cash for all things every day. I have piles of money at home. The government pays me cash for my salary because I don’t have a bank account.
To make matters worse for Lam, Chinese state-owned banks have reportedly joined their international counterparts by denying her access to banking services. For their part, authorities in mainland China have since retaliated by enacting national security laws that prohibit banks operating in the country from “cooperating with a foreign government to impose sanctions on Hong Kong.”
Despite this apparent conundrum, the report goes on to say that financial institutions are more likely to comply with US sanctions laws because of “the primacy of the US dollar in Swift’s global international financial transaction system.”
The Crypto Alternative
Meanwhile, for Lam and the 14 officials who are in a similar situation, this may mean that they will remain excluded from the financial system for the foreseeable future unless they make the switch to an alternative financial system. With cryptocurrencies, Lam, who says she has been “falsely sanctioned by the US government,” or Bernard Chan, one of the Hong Kong chief advisors who has been reportedly labeled a “politically exposed person”, have access to an alternative financial system that cannot be censored.
The Hong Kong CEO, who has already exposed herself to the risk of burglary, could also convert the stacks of cash stashed near her home into bitcoin or bitcoin cash. If she wants to cash out, she says 60 ATMs have been installed in various locations around the city Coinatm radar. The ATMs support different coins including BTC and BCH.
For Bernard Chan, who confirms that his bank account has been frozen and that Hong Kong officials in the city are struggling to open bank accounts, cryptocurrencies would be a practical solution.
What do you think about the situation of the Hong Kong chief? Tell us what you think in the comments section.
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