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Financial Secretary

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Father’s Day wishes

Registration for the $10,000 Cash Payout Scheme (the “Scheme”) has started today. The 21 participating banks, Hongkong Post and various Government department have made their best efforts to prepare for the launch of the Scheme, and to ensure that the registration process is fast and safe. The first peak of registration is expected today. The entire team will closely monitor the operation of the system and every process for the smooth sailing of the Scheme.

Last week, I met with representatives of the catering sector to thank them for their positive response to the Government’s appeal by rolling out promotional discounts to boost consumption.

Starting from today, eligible citizens can register electronically through webpages of the bank they selected to receive payment through bank account transfer, which is the fastest and most convenient mean under the Scheme. For people who are not online banking users, they could still register electronically through dedicated webpages of the banks. Those webpages are accessible for mobile phone users too. Only 3 pieces of information are required for the registration - first four alphanumer-ic characters of HKID card, mobile phone number and bank account number for re-ceiving payment. As the related banks have already kept their clients’ personal in-formation, people do not need to provide all the information during registration. This can prevent fraudsters from stealing personal information through fraudulent webpages for unlawful use.

Payment for electronic registrations submitted through banks from today to June 30 will be deposited simultaneously into the accounts specified by registrants from around July 8. For electronic registrations submitted on or after July 1, registrants will receive the payment one week after registration.

For people who do not wish to register electronically, they could submit paper regis-tration form. Paper forms have been distributed at various specified locations since last Monday. Citizens can submit the forms to about 1000 branches of the 20 partic-ipating local retail banks, as well as about 120 post offices. No postage is needed if it is sent from Hong Kong.

We will notify the registrants through SMS or mail/email upon receipt of their regis-tration. There will also be subsequent notifications on the disbursement so as to keep registrants updated of the progress. We will not ask for more personal information through SMS. People should be aware of any fraudulent webpages and phishing email, message or phone calls and not to click the hyperlinks in suspicious emails, so as to prevent fraudsters from stealing personal information on the pretext of the Scheme. According to the guidelines issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, banks will not ask for personal information, such as ID card number and bank ac-count number through phone call, email and SMS message, etc. Banks are also not allowed to send messages to customers with embedded hyperlinks to transactional websites or mobile applications.

With the registration for the Scheme begins, we expect most citizens will receive the payment by end of August. Last week, I met with representatives of the catering sec-tor to thank them for their positive response to the Government’s appeal by rolling out promotional discounts starting from mid July. I notice that the retail, banking and some other sectors are also running different promotional campaigns with a view to grasping business opportunities and creating an atmosphere to boost consumption. With the epidemic situation in Hong Kong gradually subsided, some of the restriction measures have been relaxed. Businesses in many restaurants have started to recov-er.

Hong Kong’s economy is still struggling in deep recession. Our unemployment rate is still on a rising trend. Nonetheless, with the rolling out of the series of Government’s relief measures, including reduction in rates, electricity charges, and water and sew-age charges, as well as the Employment Support Scheme, we believe the operating pressure on enterprises could be eased to some extent. If we could all join hands to-gether to create an atmosphere to boost consumption, this could help improving the businesses of restaurants and shops, as well as the income of SMEs and employees. Just like the rainbow that many of us in Hong Kong witnessed after the rain last week, with the concerted efforts of all of us, Hong Kong’s economy will come out of the re-cession and start again.

Lastly, may I wish you all a happy Father’s Day, good business for all, and a speedy recovery for Hong Kong’s economy!

Jun 21, 2020

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