Asking for several friends…

Meet Dan, who’s moving his savings out of the reach of the NatSec Regime. Like a lot of people, he was spooked by the cops’ freezing of Ted Hui’s family members’ local savings. 

I know people who have transferred much of their cash and investment accounts from HSBC or BoC across the street to the local CitiBank or DBS branch – but that leaves the wealth in Hong Kong and presumably just as exposed to freezing or seizure. Dan already seems to have an account in Canada. But what’s the simplest way for a plain retail saver to move money offshore if they do not have an overseas bank account/address/residency? 

(And no, not crypto.)

The CCP’s oh-so famous Long-Term Thinking in action…

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22 Responses to Asking for several friends…

  1. Low Profile says:

    HSBC can set up an account for you at their Chinatown branch in London. You can make the arrangements here, but once moived, the funds are presumably out of the reach of the NatSec cops.

  2. Prometheus says:

    One possibly-difficult-to-setup, but highly efficient, method that I know about…

    1.) Open an overseas Charles Schwab account, preferably in the U.S.

    2.) Wire HKD funds (via local, intra-bank transfer) to the local Hong Kong bank with which your country’s Charles Schwab bank holds an account (e.g. the local Citibank branch). Must include your overseas Schwab account info as part of the transfer notes, so that Schwab can complete the next step.

    3.) HKD funds are processed at the local Hong Kong bank, and are automatically credited in overseas currency equivalent at your overseas Schwab account, usually within 1 business day.

    No transfer fees, and with extremely good exchange rates (possibly only 0.01% difference in currency rate). Also to note is that the local Schwab branch does not seem to know about this, and will be of no help if you ask them!

  3. where's my jet plane says:

    It may be possible to open an account in HK with the other British bank to establish a relationship and then through them open an offshore account with them in, for example, the Channel Islands.

  4. dopey says:

    There are offshore banks which will open accounts for as little as 50k USD. These accounts offer the usual suite of retail banking products along with access to mutual funds and such.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “But what’s the simplest way for a plain retail saver to move money offshore if they do not have an overseas bank account/address/residency? ”

    I’ve done both the opening of offshore accounts as well as used crypto so I will comment on both. You might poo poo on crypto but if you don’t want your funds frozen or seized, it’s one of the best options and there are cryptos pegged to the US dollar similar to the way the HK dollar is pegged to the USD so they don’t have instability either.

    Singapore has offshore banking options, but normally requires a physical interview in Singapore pre COVID. Not sure what the post COVID process is, if any at all. There will be a ton of paperwork to “know the client” including showing where the funds are sourced from and why you need to open up an account offshore. Switzerland is similar. Usually it takes about one to two months to open an offshore bank account.

    There are far more dodgy banking options in Latin America that don’t require you to be physically present in the country but at this point you might just be better off going the crypto option since these these banks can easily go tits up.

    “(And no, not crypto.)”

    Unlike banks, be they offshore or domestic, crypto assets can’t be frozen or seized if your private key is committed to memory and not written down somewhere.

    If you want to move funds to crypto then opening at account with bitstamp.net (Licensed in Luxembourg) is the fastest way to go. The KYC boarding process is easier and faster than a bank account and can be completed in about 72 hours.

    From there you wire funds to their UK bank account which takes 12 to 24 hours to land in their account using SWIFT. Your funds will now be accessible in your bitstamp account and can be converted to crypto.

    Usually people convert it to bitcoin, but since this involves a risk averse person that wants something non-volatile then I would recommend converting TUSD or DAI instead. TUSD is essentially a crypto coin pegged to the US dollar. There is a centralized treasury operated by trusttoken.com that holds a reserve of US dollars. If you want fully decentralized cryptocoin that is pegged 1 to 1 to the US dollar and has no central treasury, then DAI is the way to go (more info here for anyone who wants to look into how a peg can work when there is no central monetary authority: https://medium.com/mycrypto/what-is-dai-and-how-does-it-work-742d09ba25d6).

    Once you convert your funds into either TUSD or DAI crypto you can then transfer said crypto to an external wallet (remember funds/crypto on bitstamp can still be seized or frozen) and commit the private key to memory (use a wallet that supports using a mnemonic phrase so you don’t actually need to keep anything on any electronic device until you are ready to access your funds. Once you are ready to access funds, simply reinstall the wallet software again and enter in your mnemonic phrase and you will have access to your funds again complete with bank account-like services).

  6. Mark Bradley says:

    I’m going to vouch for @Prometheus’s Charles Schwab method. It’s very similar to my Bitstamp.net method (the method I’ve used personally) but uses a licensed securities account instead of a licensed crypto account.

    It’s more friendly towards technophobic /crypt-skeptic people and while it won’t give you the same level of protection from asset seizure that crypto in an external wallet gives you, it nonetheless does place your assets firmly in US jurisdiction and far away from the NSL regime.

  7. DikMik says:

    My life’s saving are now parked with the ‘Bank of Brother’ in a somewhat chilly location. Ironically, he’s already borrowed a portion of it for his daughter’s deposit on a new home. My collection of epic junk went with the packers last Saturday. All that’s left for them to seize is me and a small collection of worn clothes.

    Did anyone see the survey from the HK council of Nurses informal poll? An astounding 90% of the nurses are planning on leaving. Not if, not might, not dreaming of; but leaving. This society is heading for a catastrophic collapse.

    Anyone who thinks it’s all going to blow over has their heads up their asses, smelling roses and talking shit.

    Keep safe everybody, especially you Hemmers. “This is not a drill”.

  8. Mark Bradley says:

    “use a wallet that supports using a mnemonic phrase so you don’t actually need to keep anything on any electronic device until you are ready to access your funds.”

    To further add to this comment to make it as “complete” as possible: One such wallet is called Metamask (https://metamask.io). You can install it on your PC, transfer crypto to its address on the blockchain, obtain the mnemonic phrase (they call it a seed phrase), memorize it, uninstall the metamask software. Done. Even if you lose all of your data, your crypto is safe because the crypto actually lives on the blockchain and is unlocked by your private key which essentially is the seed phrase.

    Then simply reinstall it and provide the seed phrase whenever you need access to funds.

    There are many other wallets you can use including hardware wallets such as Trezor which do not have persistent Internet connections, but the above is my preferred method of choice.

  9. dimuendo says:

    Hemlock

    At the bottom of today’s blog you include a tweet as to population meant to demonstrate lack of clarity of CCP thinking.

    Am fed up of people suggesting world needs more humans.

    One example.

    Some guy sought the other day by a column in the Guardian to publish his book. He made a big thing that the rate of growth has diminished. So still growing.

    When The Population Explosion was published in 1967 or thereabouts the world’s population was just over 3 billion. It is now over 7 billion, pushing 8 billion.

    Totally unsustainable.

    Root cause of many of the world’s problems, including climate change.

    As for the bleetings about economic sustainability in individual countries, they are just that. Sooner or later things cannot grow. In the short ish term just redistribute. Shoot the billionaires. I am sure they will rapidly find they can get by on a “mere” 100 million.

    More people is not good. Philip Bowering column on Sunday contained the comment that the Philippines population has increased 8% in the last 5 years. It was already over 100m so you have over 8m more people in a country that cannot provide for its existing population.

    In the time I have been involved with the Philippines its population has gone from being roughly on a par with the UK to being nearly 40m more. And the UK itself has grown in numbers.

    When Mao came to power China’s population was between 300 and 400 million. It is now reported at about 1,400 million.

    So yes. The one child policy, while inhumane as sometimes implemented, limiting as to descendants and (because of man) leading to a preponderance of males over females in number, was NOT an error.

    One thing the world needs is less people. Sadly, Covid is not going to be the answer (and a relative in UK has apparently died of it and friends are infected).

  10. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @dimuendo: Since you read Dr Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb”, things have moved on a bit. According to various sources (UN, EU etc) fertility rates are on a downward trend, and have been for decades. What do you guess the rate is in a populous
    place with no one child policy such as Bangladesh, for example? Just 2, down from a peak in the 1970s of 7. A rate of 2 is important because that is the population replacement rate; any lower and the population contracts. Most developed nations are below 2. Unsustainable growth you say? How about an upside down Christmas tree for a demographic time bomb? Lots of retired oldies and a far smaller working population to support them. State pensions become a real problem. The burden falls on younger generations and there is only so much productivity possible. Maybe fine if you’re at retirement age now, but the squeeze looks set to continue and eventually the pips will squeak. The Chinese government should be concerned, yes.
    Also, sorry for your loss. It is a terrible time for so many people.

  11. Sean O'Herlihy says:

    @dimuendo

    If you believe what you say, then you know what to do.

    Start with yourself and your own loved ones.

    Yeah, didn’t think so.

  12. bitlord says:

    I respect you, but you sound ignorant when you give shade to crypto. You clearly have no clue why it exists. Shane, because this kind of situation is exactly why it exists.

  13. Rocinante says:

    @dimuendo…29 million births a year in China in the 1963…14 million last year. China can’t stop the population collapse now whatever they do. 200 million lost workers is certain and so is China being old and poor, with large parts of it emptying. The Philippines is very much atypical in Asia.
    @ Ho Ma Fan Exactly. If health systems aren’t that great..2.1 is probably 2.3, which means even India is below replacement levels.

  14. dimuendo says:

    Rochinate and Ho Ma Fan.

    You make the economic argument, which I understand , but reproduction to sustain those already here will simply end in disaster, with too many people. It is a absolute numbers that count (sic) not rates of reproduction.

    Sean the Irishman, inevitably a hostile RC. What exactly are you suggesting? I had a vasectomy years ago. Did you?

  15. Sean O'Herlihy says:

    @dimuwndo

    I’m suggesting that if you really believe that “one thing the world needs is less people,” then you’d lead by example, starting with yourself and your own loved ones.

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  16. Din Dan Che says:

    Aside from all the mouth frothing here about crypto, ageing-population crises and vasectomies… wasn’t Hemlock’s choice of YouTube song today superb?!

  17. Chinese Netizen says:

    So how do “seed phrases” and memorised crypto passwords fare against good old fashioned CCP/Tudorian torture?

    Surely NSL will have amendments (for appearances) on extracting information in “any way necessary…in the name of national security”.

  18. dimuendo says:

    Sean O’Herlihy

    The nom de guerre of rectum #no. 4, or a close relative.

    And suggesting murder and suicide takes nothing away from my point; the world’s population is way too large.

  19. Mr Robot says:

    Obviously if you are being tortured then crypto can’t save you. But there are people having funds arbitrarily frozen who aren’t being tortured so anything that can enhance asset protection that you can access in an emergency is a net positive.

    I am speaking as someone who got to experience frozen bank accounts first hand in my home country but still had access to my (at the time) offshore HK bank accounts (this was well before crypto). Was able to hire a lawyer thanks to that and sort it all out.

  20. Sean O'Herlihy says:

    @dimuendo

    The world’s supply of hypocrisy is way too large as well.

    Bye!

  21. dbf says:

    Ignoring the crypto aspect, certain crypto exchanges are equally as trustworthy as retail banks, and many allow you to hold an account balance in fiat. Kraken.com comes to mind: Complete the online KYC and wire in funds, NatSec has no jurisdiction. When you need fiat either load up one of the pay-as-you-go debit cards (using crypto as an intermediary) or trickle a small amount back to your HK HSBC, find a way to open a Revolut / N26 style digital bank account.

    Crypto is useful, but I understand why average joe fears the volatility. Thankfully the fiat gateways of the crypto ecosystem are maturing at an exponential rate and are just as useful for cross border transactions as traditional bank.

  22. No planet B says:

    @Sean O’Herlihy
    “E pur si riproduce”

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