HSBC condemns vandalism by protesters

Protestors vandalise a HSBC branch in Hong Kong. (AP pic)

HONG KONG: HSBC Holdings Plc condemned acts of vandalism against its property on Wednesday, saying it believes they are “unjustified.”

Protesters lit a fire at one branch and sought to deface iconic lion statues in front of its Hong Kong headquarters.

“We strongly condemn the acts of vandalism and damage directed at our premises repeatedly in the last few days. We believe these are unjustified,” a spokesperson for HSBC said in a statement Wednesday evening, adding that some of its ATMs and banking facilities had been suspended.

“We believe the rule of law is essential to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center and we look forward to the speedy resolution of the issues.”

The bank has become a target in recent weeks after it closed the account of a group linked to the protests.

Police last month arrested four people for suspected money laundering linked to the pro-democracy protests and froze US$9 million in funds related to the Spark Alliance, a group that helps protesters pay legal fees.

HSBC defended its decision to close the account, saying it was unrelated to the December arrests and followed a “direct instruction” from the customer in November.