China has imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong, effectively limiting its independence and driving residents to convert millions of Hong Kong dollars into US dollars in unprecedented demand.
Fear and unrest have persisted in Hong Kong since China’s ongoing suppression of Hong Kong’s citizen protests that began last year. The new national security law, which passed unanimously, is a major step to dismantle the territory’s autonomy.
Shibani Mahtani, Asia and HK bureau chief for the Washington Post, posted a video on Twitter showing the tense atmosphere in Hong Kong.
The national security bill isn’t even here yet and today Hong Kong already resembles a police state pic.twitter.com/YgDIzhPliK
— Shibani Mahtani (@ShibaniMahtani) May 27, 2020
Eric Wong Wai-lam, who runs Rich Bird (HK) Currency Exchange in Sham Shui Po, says demand for the US dollar increased 10-fold this week.
“The US dollar is out of stock everywhere. We’ve offered every last bit of our supplies to our customers.”
South China Morning Post also reports that long lines formed on Friday as residents waited for shop operators to replenish their US dollar supplies so they could exchange their money.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Eddie Yue Wai-man confirms, however, that the city’s currency will remain pegged to the US dollar and that he has not noticed fund outflows.