Mainland banks condemn HK rioters’ damage of ATMs, facilities

By Chen Qingqing and Bai Yunyi in Hong Kong Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/8 16:40:46

Mainland banks condemn HK rioters’ damaging ATMs, facilities

ATMs of a mainland bank in Hong Kong are damaged by rioters during the weekend. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

Banks based in the Chinese mainland that have facilities in Hong Kong, as well as a banking association, have strongly condemned protesters who set fire to and vandalized several bank branches amid rampages over the weekend, reiterating that they have significantly contributed to the city's status as a global financial hub. 

Attacks targeting mainland-based banks have caused serious damage to ATMs and other facilities, which has affected customer services. About 10 percent of the ATMs across the city were damaged in the riots, and rumors have emerged that the city's banking system will experience cash shortages and the authorities will initiate capital controls by invoking emergency powers following the mask ban. 

Facilities of the Bank of China (Hong Kong), China Construction Bank and ICBC (Asia) have become major targets for rioters, who not only broke into and set fires inside the banks' branches but also spray-painted insulting words on walls while breaking ATMs and surveillance cameras. 

The Chinese Banking Association in Hong Kong, representing more than 30 branches of mainland banks, condemned such violent attacks. The association said that mainland banks have been striving for the city's economic growth, financial stability and people's livelihoods, according to an open letter it released on Tuesday. 

"The rule of law is fundamental and a core value of Hong Kong society, and finance is a pillar sector," it said, urging joint efforts to help the city restore order.

All but five branches of the Bank of China (Hong Kong) are operating normally with sufficient cash on hand, the bank said on Tuesday, vowing to continue contributing to the development of the city and its financial stability. 

"All Hong Kong people should cherish their city ruled by law," the bank added.

Hong Kong gained its current status thanks to the role it has played in connecting the mainland and overseas markets, and attacking mainland companies will weaken its role as a global financial hub, observers said. 

"The Hong Kong market still heavily relies on mainland companies. [The mainland] is a major IPO market for them, and more than half of the listed companies in Hong Kong come from the mainland," Liang Haiming, dean of the Belt and Road Institute at Hainan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"For mainland companies, Hong Kong is seen as home ground, but for foreign companies, it's a visiting field," Liang said, noting that long-term growth relies on mainland companies.

Newspaper headline: Mainland banks condemn HK rioters’ damaging ATMs, facilities


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