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Pension withdrawals by departing Hong Kong residents hit US$270 million in second quarter

HONG KONG : Residents leaving Hong Kong withdrew HKUS$2.095 billion (US$270 million) from Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) pension accounts in the second quarter, up 111.6per cent from the same period in 2020.

A sweeping security law imposed on Hong Kong in June 2020, aimed at anything Beijing regards as subversion, secession or terrorism, prompted residents of the city to move tens of billions of dollars to other countries including Canada, where thousands hope to forge a new future.

A total of 8,000 claims were made during the second quarter of 2021, data from the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority on Tuesday showed. That compared with 6,000 claims during the same period in 2020, when HKUS$990 million was withdrawn. (https://bit.ly/3n8NCzP).

There were 7,700 claims during the first quarter of 2021, when HKUS$1.931 billion was withdrawn, marking a rise of 49.1per cent from the same quarter in 2020.

The authority, which did not provide reasons why residents left Hong Kong, said the number of claimants may not match the number of claims because a member may have more than one account under the MPF system.

The government has said the city has not seen significant capital outflows since anti-government unrest started in 2019.

Under the national security law, nearly every corner of Hong Kong society has come under scrutiny and authorities have arrested activists, detained newspaper editors, rewritten school curriculums, banned some books and protest slogans, and censored films.

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities say the law was vital to restore stability and deny such prosecutions are political.

(US$1 = 7.7732 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnue Siu; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: Reuters/ad

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