China scrutinizes activity at Hong Kong ATMs after surge in withdrawals
When the Chinese territory of Macau implemented facial recognition technology at ATMs to discourage money laundering and the flight of cash from China, something entirely predictable happened.
All that ATM traffic moved to Hong Kong.
According to a report by Reuters, withdrawals at Hong Kong ATMs have ballooned in recent months to as much as $767 million a month. The report said that some account holders were using up to 50 cards during a single ATM visit in order to circumvent government-imposed withdrawal limits.
"The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is aware of media reports about people using multiple mainland cards to withdraw cash at ATMs in Hong Kong," a statement from the bank read. The bank went on to say that it was discussing the issue with police and the banking industry.
In addition to the Know Your Customer measures in Macau, the Chinese government has sought to limit capital flight from the country by capping international withdrawals made with domestic bank cards at 100,000 yuan ($15,815) a year, Reuters said.