Hong Kong protests: Banks closed as protesters defy authorities in pro-democracy march

Total of 29 branches temporarily closed in tense stand-off between police and pro-democracy protesters

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Banks in Hong Kong have temporarily suspended operations after clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters in the Asian financial hub continued on Monday.

Asia-focused lender Standard Chartered said it had suspended services, including over-the-counter operations and cash machines, at five of its branches. The bank added it had activated "contingency plans" to ensure continuous provision of services to customers.

Barclays, HSBC, Bank of China and Citibanks were also among the major banks affected by severe disruptions in the Causeway Bay and Admiralty area with some firms advising staff to go home or move to a different branch.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said a total of 29 branches and ATM machines from 17 different banks had been temporarily closed as a result of the ongoing protests.

The HKMA, Hong Kong's de facto central banking authority, said it would "inject liquidity" into the banking system "as and when necessary" and monitor the stability of the Hong Kong dollar exchange rate after the currency fell to a six-month low against the US dollar.


Over the weekend, thousands took to the street in the strongest challenge yet to Beijing's decision last month to reject open nominations for candidates for the first-ever elections for Hong Kong's leader, promised for 2017.

Instead, candidates will continue to be hand-picked by Beijing, which has called the protests illegal and endorsed the Hong Kong government's crackdown. Riot police has fired tear gas on protesters occupying the heart of Hong Kong's financial district.

Additional reporting PA