Don’t try to cash out spending vouchers: Paul Chan

The Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, on Saturday warned people against cashing out the HK$5,000 spending vouchers to be dished out by the government in August.

The vouchers will come in instalments and must be spent locally. The scheme is aimed at boosting the economy amid the pandemic.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Chan said authorities would take action against shops that were found to conspire with people to “cash out” their spending vouchers.

“The operators of the electronic wallets will monitor the shops. If they notice any unusual transactions, they will follow up,” he said.

“Authorities may blacklist these shops and they will be banned from joining the spending vouchers scheme. We will not rule out taking law enforcement action if any conspiracy is involved.”

While people can get up to HK$5,000, the money will come in instalments spread over a few months.

Octopus Card users will first receive HK$2,000, another HK$2,000 two months later, and then HK$1,000 several weeks after that. The vouchers can be collected by using Octopus Card readers at MTR stations or in shops, or via the card’s app.

People who receive the vouchers via their AlipayHK, Tap & Go or WeChat Pay HK digital wallets will first get HK$2,000 and then HK$3,000 two months later.

Registration for the vouchers will open on July 4 and as well as paper forms available from the Post Office and some government offices, people can sign up online or via the government’s iAM Smart app.

Those using paper registration forms will not get their first voucher until September 1, with those who register electronically after July 17 also facing an extra month’s wait to get the money.

Only adult permanent SAR residents and new arrivals in Hong Kong will be eligible for the vouchers and applicants will have to make a declaration that they are currently living in the territory.