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Finance

A month on, Hong Kong banks caught between US and China sanctions

Lenders comb through clients to mitigate risk since security bill's passage

A Chinese national flag flies in front of HSBC's offices in Hong Kong.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- In the first month since Beijing imposed a sweeping new national security law on Hong Kong, banks in the Asian financial hub have scrutinized their client rosters to reduce the risk of repercussions from China or the U.S.

Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong's best-known pro-democracy activists, was recently questioned by HSBC over the origins of funds deposited into his account. Although Wong has held an HSBC account for over a decade, the London-based lender has never before made such an inquiry, he said.

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