Hong Kong stock exchange
© AFP / Philippe Lopez / File
The stock exchange building in Hong Kong
Hong Kong authorities have rebuffed rumors of a pending stock market closure and cap on bank cash withdrawals, saying that the "fake" messages only add fuel to the fire amid violent protests.

Messages circulating on social media platforms on Monday claimed that schools and some offices as well as the Hong Kong stock exchange could be closed later this week as violence grips the city.

"Such rumours are absolutely untrue," the local government said in a statement on its website, warning against believing them as it "can lead to unnecessary chaos and fear."

While others claimed that local lenders can impose daily restrictions on cash withdrawals, Hong Kong's financial regulator and de facto central bank, called the messages "totally fake and unfounded." "The Hong Kong banking system is robust and sound, with ample liquidity to meet the needs of the public," the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said.

Months of social unrest have plunged Hong Kong's economy into recession as it faced two successive quarters of contraction. The city may even face its first annual economic contraction in ten years, according to its financial secretary.


But banks are trying to keep operations running as normal, even though some branches have came under protesters' attacks. Several lenders had to close their branches due to the situation in the city. On Monday, branch services were suspended in 15 major banks, including those from mainland China such as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank, according to the Hong Kong Association of Banks.

The city has come through the 24th straight weekend of anti-government unrest, with protesters vandalizing a train station and other city infrastructure on Sunday. As masked rioters rampaged through the city on Monday, one protester was injured after he was shot by police. Another man was set on fire following a heated argument with the rioters.