Hong Kong Council Adviser Says Account Closure Not Tied to Law

A top adviser to Hong Kong’s leader clarified that the closure of one of his U.S. bank accounts is unrelated to China’s new security law for the city.

Bernard Chan, a convener of the advisory Executive Council, said the bank closed his account and refunded his money as global regulators have been asking banks to screen for politically exposed persons — individuals with prominent political or public-sector functions.

“This is my bank account in U.S. — closed before NSL is even introduced,” Chan said in an email Tuesday, referring to the national security law enacted on Hong Kong at the end of June. “My other U.S. bank accounts are fine.”

Chan, an adviser to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, is also one of Hong Kong’s deputies to the National People’s Congress, China’s legislative body. He declined to identify the bank.

The Financial Times earlier cited Chan as saying that senior members of the city’s government are finding it increasingly difficult to bank with foreign firms as tensions mount between China and the U.S. over Hong Kong’s future.

Chan told Apple Daily in another interview that he was informed by the U.S. bank regarding the decision back in March. He also said that he’s unaware of any current government officials or Executive Council members facing a similar issue, while some officials in the past might have had problems opening bank accounts as they were PEPs, the local newspaper reported.

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