Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she has to pile up cash at home as she has been unable to open a bank account in the global financial centre since Washington sanctioned her shortly after Beijing imposed a national security law on the city.
- The United States imposed sanctions against Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other Hong Kong officials in August
- A defiant Ms Lam told local media that it was “honourable” to be sanctioned by Washington
- Ms Lam’s annual salary is almost 1 million Australian dollars, making her one of the highest paid public officials worldwide
Beijing circumvented Hong Kong’s legislature and imposed a national security law on the former British colony on June 30, a move condemned by some foreign governments, business groups and rights groups.
Hong Kong and authorities in Beijing said the law was necessary to restore stability after more than a year of anti-government protests.
“Sitting in front of you is a chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region] who has no banking services made available to her,” Ms Lam told HKIBC, an English-language news channel in the city, on a preview clip released by the broadcaster.
“I’m using cash for all the things,” she said.
In August, the United States imposed sanctions on Ms Lam and other top officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory.
“I don’t want to … deter people from serving in a public position because it is very honourable in this set of circumstances to be so unjustifiably sanctioned by the US Government,” Ms Lam said.
Ms Lam is paid about $HK5.21 million ($910,200) a year, according to local media reports, making her among the highest paid public officials in the world.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s opposition staged a final show of defiance in the legislature before resigning to protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues over what they see as another bid by Beijing to suppress democracy in the city.