Hong Kong’s leader says she has to keep piles of cash at home

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong, China, on 25 November 2020.
Carrie Lam is said to be one of the highest paid leaders in the world

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, has said in a TV interview that she has to keep “piles of cash” at home as she has no bank account, this is because of sanctions imposed on her by the US treasury, she said.

The sanctions on Ms Lam and other officials were in response to China’s new security law for Hong Kong, her revelation has prompted social media speculation about how the government manages to transport the leader’s generous salary to her home. In an interview broadcast on Friday night, she said she was “using cash every day for all the things”.

“Sitting in front of you is a chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) who has no banking service made available to her,” she told local English TV channel HKIBC. “I have piles of cash at home, the government is paying me cash for my salary because I don’t have a bank account,” she added. She also added that it was “very honourable” to be “unjustifiably sanctioned” by the US government, she is said to be one of the highest paid leaders in the world, and has been reported to earn an annual salary of HK$5.2m ($670,000; £500,000).

In June, China imposed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong, which critics say threatens its freedoms and undermine the city’s autonomy, it also makes it easier to punish protesters and there are fears it may lead to judicial independence being threatened. In response to the new law, Washington decided to freeze the US assets of a dozen Hong Kong officials and seize any property they may own in the US.

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