Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said she keeps “piles of cash” at home and doesn’t have a bank account due to US sanctions imposed on her in response to the crackdown of political freedoms in the territory.
In an interview broadcast on Friday night Ms Lam said she was using “using cash every day for all the things.”
She told English channel HKIBC: “Sitting in front of you is a chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region] who has no banking services made available to her.
"I’m using cash for all the things. I have piles of cash at home, the government is paying me cash for my salary because I don’t have a bank account.”
She added: “To be so unjustifiably sanctioned by the US government, it’s an honour.”
Ms Lam is reportedly one of the highest earning leaders in the world, taking an annual salary of HK$5.2m (£500,000), as reported by AfP.
Social media users questioned how the large monthly payments would be transported to her and also mocked the leader with images of piggy banks.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is rich in cash because she doesn’t have a bank account following US sanctions. Would be interesting to know how her HK$400,000 monthly salary is transported to her in cash!https://t.co/DDqwwxkKy8 pic.twitter.com/awhRxKD6Em
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) November 27, 2020
It comes just days after Ms Lam said that the city's new national security law has been “remarkably effective in restoring stability”
Lam made the comments in her annual policy address, more than a month after it was postponed so that she could seek Beijing’s support for various economic measures
Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June, aiming to crack down on dissent following months of anti-government protests.
In response the United States imposed sanctions on the people it said were undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: "The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong."