HKMA learns social media lessons in crisis control
In the heat of Hong Kong’s protests, rumours swirl that capital controls are imminent and banks are out of cash. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority ventured onto social media, proactively quelling the gossip. New HKMA head Eddie Yue tells Euromoney how.
The rumours were circling for a few days before the Hong Kong Monetary Authority intervened.
For most of 2019, Hong Kong, still a vital financial bridge between China and the world, was riven by the kind of public unrest not seen since the 1960s. It was the city’s embattled chief executive Carrie Lam who pulled the trigger in March, introducing a bill permitting the extradition of criminal fugitives to mainland China.
Many saw this as the thin end of the wedge, giving Beijing the power to extradite any Hong Kong citizen at will. Demonstrators trickled onto the streets to begin with, then flooded them in June, when over a million people attended a single rally.
But it was in October that events really came to a head. Three days after Beijing celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, on October 4, Lam invoked an emergency law banning the public wearing of facemasks.
It was like pouring gasoline on a fire. Protesters brought rioting to the streets, roads were closed, banks shuttered branches. In the suburb of Tsuen Wan, an 18-year-old protester was shot while attacking a police officer.