"The Taps Are Gushing" Hong Kong ATM Withdrawals Surge As Facial Recognition Fears Spread

Amid a crackdown on unauthorized mainland currency outflows by forcing ATM users to undertake facial recognition before cash is dispensed in Macau, Hong Kong ATMs are reportedly being hit by a massive surge in withdrawals from China's UnionPay bank cards.

As The South China Morning Post notes, the mainland has been strengthening regulations since last year when a decline in the ­value of the yuan led to widespread capital outflows.

Mainland people are allowed to withdraw up to 100,000 yuan (HK$117,000) in cash overseas and remit up to US$50,000 worth of foreign currency offshore ­annually, according to 2016 ­foreign ­exchange regulations.


Users of UnionPay cards can withdraw up to 10,000 yuan per day for each card they hold.


To skirt around the foreign ­exchange controls, some individuals have been using separate ATM cards to make cash withdrawals, prompting the regulators to crack down on the practice.

The most invasive of those crackdowns was the imposition of facial recognition technology in Macau ATMs.

Regulators in the world’s most lucrative gaming hub are deploying machines with “Minority Report”-style technology to keep tabs on capital outflows from China and watch for potential money laundering schemes. China UnionPay Co.’s network is the first to use the software, which will be installed in all the city’s 1,200 cash dispensers.




“This is aimed at illicit outflows of capital from China,” said Sean Norris, Asia Pacific managing director at Accuity in Singapore. “It’s aimed at people drawing out money in Macau, going to the casino, betting very little, getting forex from there and moving it.”

But now, as SCMP reports, one source explains...

"It seems quite clear that as the introduction of ATM facial recognition technology in Macau has put the squeeze on cash dispensing withdrawals in Macau, the pattern of withdrawals has ­followed the path of least resistance - and that is to Hong Kong."

Monetary chiefs in Hong Kong have declined to deny or confirm information obtained by the South China Morning Post that ATMs have seen a "staggering'' rise in withdrawals since the ­casino hub introduced the facial recognition technology in May as part of a bid to stem illegal capital flight from the mainland.

"The rise in ATM withdrawals in terms of volume and number has been staggering. The taps are gushing," a source with knowledge of the situation said.

The development follows a move by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to instruct local banks to submit data on cash withdrawals by UnionPay cards throughout the ATM network as the regulator cracks down on ­unauthorised mainland outflows.

The Monetary Authority spokeswoman added:

"The HKMA endeavours to enhance the security level of banking ­systems.


"We have been studying the applications of different technologies, including the feasibility, soundness and cost efficiency of facial recognition and other types of biometric authentication technologies, having regard to the technologies used in other ­jurisdictions.


"However, we have no plans to require ATMs to install facial ­recognition technology."

Which leads to one simple question... If everything is so awesome over there, why are Chinese authorities cracking down so hard on what seems like utter panic to get cash out of the onshore market?

And do not be fooled by the "strengthening Yuan" narrative... once again China is continuing to devalue its currency against the world... while maintaining the "Shanghai Accord"-like illusion that it is strengthening again the USD...


Advoc8tr ExplodingEntropy Sun, 08/20/2017 - 23:40 Permalink

VERI is a dog ... no way that token is worth $120 ... Reggie just created the whole issue and sat on the bulk of them limiting supply.  I can agree that Populous and TenX are legit good picks.   SALT is another to watch and is still in ICO.  FIAT loans against crypto assets has long legs I think.

In reply to by ExplodingEntropy

Yen Cross Sun, 08/20/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

 The whole emerging market farce is a joke! I'd guess the parabolic rises in cryptos have lessened [conventional] capital outflows temporarily.  Same as it ever was bitchez~

Ben A Drill Sun, 08/20/2017 - 21:59 Permalink

Stupid people. Every ATM on the planet has video cameras and so does every store have video of you coming and going at the minimum.

I actually think it's a good thing if it keeps the crooks away. I could care less, I'm not a criminal. Don't plan on being one anytime soon either.

kamikun Ben A Drill Sun, 08/20/2017 - 22:08 Permalink

>>I could care less, I'm not a criminal. Don't plan on being one anytime soon either.Ben, not to be a jerk - but you are simply not thinking this through. Whose definition of "criminal" are you using?That's the way this game is played. Actions that were perfectly legal and common may be ruled illicit with no warning and no recourse. Suddenly, sending money to your brother in Argentina (for example) may be considered an inappropriate transfer of soverign funds and you could be branded a federal criminal.

In reply to by Ben A Drill

Ben A Drill kamikun Sun, 08/20/2017 - 22:16 Permalink

I don't talk to my relatives so......

A ATM can spit out what $300.00 a day. Go inside the bank and withdraw just like the good old days before ATM's.

Still don't see the big deal. If it a big deal and I don't see the big picture then call me stupid to have money stashed in my gun safe not collecting interest. LOL!

In reply to by kamikun

Anonymous_Bene… Ben A Drill Sun, 08/20/2017 - 22:14 Permalink

Silly you...have you not heard of civil asset forfeiture? You're guilty until you've proven your innocence...see how that works?And apparently you've never heard of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 which was amended under Roosevelt to include all US citizens as enemies of the US government.So enjoy that blue pill, walking through life with your hands over your eyes.

In reply to by Ben A Drill

Moving and Grooving Got The Wrong No Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:33 Permalink

Makes me wonder - if you showed up at an ATM wearing all black clothes, a helmet, and a mask, would the cops 'find' you shortly thereafter? Pretend you're an armed and violent felon? Kill you? Disappear you first, then kill you? Would you commit suicide while in custory? Turn up in a park two weeks later? And I mean if YOU OR I did that, not known, paid, in-place thugs, agitators, or crisis actors. There's a difference, you know. Wonder how big the difference is? They never get challenged by the cops, despite mumblings about '33 arrests' out of 40,000 protesters. But you and I would be dead, quickly.

In reply to by Got The Wrong No