[8/22/17] Hong Kong’s ATM network has been hit with a surge in withdrawals by customers using China UnionPay bank cards in the wake of facial recognition technology being introduced at cash dispensing machines in Macau.
Monetary chiefs in Hong Kong have declined to deny or confirm information obtained by the South China Morning Post that ATMs have seen a “staggering’’ rise in withdrawals since the casino hub introduced the recognition technology in May as part of a bid to stem illegal capital flight from mainland China.
“The rise in ATM withdrawals in terms of volume and number has been staggering. The taps are gushing,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.
“It seems quite clear that as the introduction of ATM facial recognition technology in Macau has put the squeeze on cash dispensing withdrawals in Macau, the pattern of withdrawals has followed the path of least resistance – and that is to Hong Kong,” the source added.
The development follows a move by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to instruct local banks to submit data on cash withdrawals by UnionPay cards throughout the city’s ATM network as the regulator cracks down on unauthorised capital outflow from the mainland.