HSBC to stop weekend, overnight services at some Hong Kong ATMs after branches vandalised

HSBC to stop weekend, overnight services at some Hong Kong ATMs after branches vandalised

An anti-government protester feeds a flame near an HSBC ATM machine to vandalize it during an anti-
An anti-government protester feeds a flame near an HSBC ATM machine during an anti-government demonstration on New Year's Day in Hong Kong, on Jan 1, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar)

HONG KONG: HSBC will suspend overnight services at 19 ATM clusters in Hong Kong on weekends and public holidays, the bank said on Friday (Jan 3), two days after its branches and ATMs were targeted during anti-government protests.

Hong Kong is the bank's single most important market, accounting for just over half of its US$12.5 billion pre-tax profits in the first half of 2019.

Until mid-December, HSBC had largely escaped direct involvement in the often violent anti-government protests that have shaken Hong Kong for more than six months even as other companies with perceived links to Beijing saw premises vandalised.

READ: HSBC kicks off year with Hong Kong branches closed, vandalised

Since then, HSBC has drawn the ire of some protesters who accuse it of being complicit in action by the authorities against activists trying to raise money to support their campaign.

HSBC strongly denies any connection.

The 19 groups of ATM machines are located in common protest hotspots. As a precautionary measure they will be closed from 8pm to 6am on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, the days before public holidays and on public holidays until further notice, the bank said in a statement.

Vandalized automated teller machines (ATMs) are seen at a HSBC bank branch in Wan Chai during demon
Vandalised automated teller machines (ATMs) are seen at a HSBC bank branch in Wan Chai during demonstrations on New Year's Day in Hong Kong, on Jan 1, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Jessie Pang)

HSBC on Thursday closed two branches and seven indoor ATM clusters after they were vandalised during anti-government protests on New Year's Day and Christmas Eve.

READ: Hundreds arrested in Hong Kong in New Year's Day protests: Police

The famous pair of lions that guard its city centre headquarters were daubed with graffiti and briefly set alight after being doused in a flammable liquid.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters/ga

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