Banks freeze accounts of former Hong Kong lawmaker and his family members


Former Hong Kong opposition lawmaker Ted Hui arrived in Britain on Friday to begin his self-imposed exile, only to find that a number of his Hong Kong bank accounts appeared to have been frozen.

Hui told Reuters that his and his family’s bank accounts were frozen upon his arrival in the UK, following his announcement of his decision to go into exile to continue his pro-democracy activities the day before.

Local media reported that at least five accounts worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars belonging to Hui and his family have been inaccessible since Saturday.

He said he contacted the banks but was told there were “remarks” placed on his accounts, the bank staff refused to provide further information, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

“We do not comment on the details of individual accounts,” a Hang Seng Bank spokesman told Reuters by email. HSBC and Bank of China did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hong Kong police on Sunday said they were investigating a Hong Kong resident, who had absconded overseas with bank accounts being frozen, for suspected money laundering and possible violation of the new national security law.

It was not immediately clear who police were referring to as they did not provide the name of the person being investigated.

Hui said on Thursday he had fled Hong Kong after facing criminal charges and would seek exile in Britain.

One of the pro-democracy activists arrested last month and charged with disturbing legislature proceedings, Hui arrived in Copenhagen last week on an invitation from Danish lawmakers.

Hong Kong’s Security Bureau issued a statement on Friday that, while not naming Hui, said “running away by jumping bail and using various excuses such as so-called ‘exile’ to avoid one’s responsibility is a shameful, hypocritical and cowardly act of recoil”.

Hui was one of several opposition lawmakers who quit Hong Kong’s Legislative Council last month in protest at the dismissal of four colleagues in what they called another push by Beijing to suppress freedom and democracy in the city. (Source: CNA)