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Hong Kong’s Lee Sidestepped Sanctions With $1.4 Million in Cash

  • New leader used safes, cash couriers to run election campaign
  • Tycoons replaced by Chinese clan groups as major donors
John Lee
John LeePhotographer: Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee received more than HK$11 million ($1.4 million) in physical cash when he ran unchallenged for the city’s top job in May while under US sanctions, according to a filing. 

The document, made public Monday by Lee to the government’s Registration and Electoral Office, demonstrates the creative ways in which the former police officer was able to run an election campaign without access to a bank account, including procuring banknote identifiers, safes and cash transit escort services.