anti-money launderingbank depositsBitcoin.comcapital outflowsCryptocurrenciesFinanceFinancial Institutionsfintracfreeze accountsHong Kong Monetary Authoritypro-democracy protests

Hong Kong Security Crackdown Leads to Record Capital Outflows— Residents Reportedly Used Cryptocurrencies to Move Funds

The Canadian anti-money laundering agency, Fintrac, says it recorded official capital inflows originating from Hong Kong that totaled more than $34 billion in the past year. The outflows, which are the highest since 2012 when the earliest Fintrac records are available, “are the first evidence of a significant flight of capital overseas from the Asian financial hub following the security turmoil.”
Accounts Frozen
As detailed by one report, the city’s record capital transfers, which are “up 46 per cent from 2016 and 10 percent from 2019, came in a year when Hong Kong police froze the accounts of several people linked to pro-democracy protests.” This freezing of bank accounts, in turn, triggered “concerns among some residents about asset safety.”
Meanwhile, Darren Gibb, a spokesman for Fintrac suggests that some of the fleeing Hong Kong residents could be using cryptocurrencies to move funds ashore. He said:
The Fintrac data captures only a fraction of total legal inflows into the Canadian economy because many transactions are not included, such as transfers via cryptocurrencies, between financial institutions, or under $8,000.
In addition to the anti-money laundering agency, the report also quotes one Canadian bank executive who claims to have seen “a remarkable increase in balances in existing accounts linked to Hong Kong phone numbers.” The executive adds:
Average balances in these accounts were up 30 per cent between June and mid-March, versus a four per cent rise in accounts with non-Hong Kong phone numbers.

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