When the Mainland communist government introduced the Hong Kong National Security Law, the average Hong Kong local residents immediate response was to go to the banks in Hong Kong. According to Radio France Internationale (RFI) Chinese Edition, as soon as the new law’s draft was submitted, foreign exchange stores across Hong Kong were immediately overwhelmed by customers converting HK Dollars to US Dollars. A typical exchange store could reach over US$1 million in cash exchange within one hour. British Pounds and Japanese Yen also ran out fast. Many customers of Chinese banks nearly emptied their money in HK Dollars and immediately opened US Dollar accounts in local branches of U.S. banks or Singapore banks. In the meantime, the major Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported that the locals took another immediate action to download VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps, which help users avoid being monitored by authorities. On May 21, Apple’s HK AppStore reported seven of the top ten downloads were VPN apps. The download volume was 120 times more than the previous day. Mainland China is well-known for its tight control over Internet access and most of the World’s popular social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, are blocked in China. Meanwhile, immigration service providers also saw a sharp increase in immigration inquires.
(1) RFI Chinese, May 30, 2020
(2) Apple Daily, May 22, 2020