Wednesday September 24, 02:29 PM
Hong Kong Bank Mobbed By Savers
By Sky News
Thousands of savers mobbed branches of Hong Kong's third largest bank amid panic that exposure to fallen giants Lehman Brothers and AIG might bring the business down.
The Bank of East Asia, which has branches in London and Birmingham, looked
in danger of becoming the latest casualty of the global financial crisis as crowds scrambled to withdraw their cash.
The drama came just days after the company revised its earnings downwards by almost 12% after it found that one of its workers had buried losses from an unauthorised trade.
Police were called in to control the crowds after text messages flashed across the city warning the bank was unstable as it held a large number of assets linked to the failed Wall Street bank and the troubled insurance firm.
But BEA and the city's financial authorities moved quickly to rebuff the accusations, insisting the bank was in a solid financial position.
"It has come to the notice of The Bank of East Asia (BEA)...that malicious rumours have been circulated questioning the stability of the bank," the bank said in a statement.
"The management of BEA hereby states in the strongest possible terms that such rumours have no basis in fact. The management further confirms that the bank's financial position is sound and stable."
Branches across the city were beset by throngs of customers.
Up to 400 savers, many of them elderly, had to be held back as they battled to get inside one branch of BEA in the south of Hong Kong island before it closed.