No less than three HSBC accounts associated to a Hong Kong church that helped pro-democracy protesters throughout final 12 months’s unrest have been frozen, its pastor mentioned Tuesday, the British financial institution’s second politically-sensitive suspension in every week.
Fears are rising over the monetary hub’s banking independence after the establishment, whose Asian income are fuelled by China, suspended the accounts of exiled former Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui and his household on Sunday.
“The accounts are nonetheless frozen,” Roy Chan, the evangelical pastor of Good Neighbour North District Church, whose volunteers aided Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, advised AFP on Tuesday.
The most recent frozen accounts belong to the church, Chan, and his spouse, the pastor mentioned, including they weren’t notified concerning the freeze earlier than Monday’s motion.
Chan mentioned in a Fb video Tuesday he’s now “dwelling with an empty pockets” in Britain together with his spouse and their 4 kids.
The church mentioned in a press release later Tuesday that law enforcement officials from the town’s monetary crimes unit searched a second premise utilized by them, and requested contact with Chan.
The establishment has appealed the suspension of the accounts in a petition addressing Peter Wong, HSBC’s chief govt within the metropolis.
“That is little question an act of political retaliation…identical to the asset freezing case of the self-exiled Democrats Mr Ted Hui and his household,” the church wrote.
It added that the closure would have an effect on the opposite companies — corresponding to its homeless shelters — it gives to the town.
HSBC and Hong Kong police haven’t responded to enquiries from AFP.
The financial institution has tried to remain in Beijing’s good graces, vocally backing the territory’s controversial nationwide safety legislation, prompting criticism in Washington and London.
Activists worry democracy advocates are being focused financially to stifle the motion that swept throughout the territory final 12 months.
Hui, whose accounts had been unfrozen and refrozen on Monday, joined a rising checklist of critics who’ve fled the town because the sweeping safety legislation was launched, travelling to Britain final week.
Police seized HK$850,000 ($109,000) linked to a crowdfunding marketing campaign, accusing Hui of “cash laundering” and “colluding with overseas forces”.