Published: 12:52, April 18, 2023 | Updated: 17:05, April 18, 2023
Hong Kong govt: Consumption vouchers must not be encashed
By Wang Zhan

A woman taps her Octopus card on a public transport fare subsidy collecting machine to collect the consumption voucher at Tsuen Wan MTR station in Hong Kong, on April 16, 2023. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has reminded the public that consumption vouchers must not be encashed.

The consumption vouchers must be used at local retail, catering and service outlets or their online platforms that accept payments by six stored value facilities (SVFs), the government said in a notification Monday night.

The notification followed posts on social media platforms alleging that consumption vouchers can be cashed in.

READ MORE: HK distributes consumption vouchers to 6.4m residents

Responding to such social media posts, a government spokesman said that the SAR government has asked the SVF operators to monitor merchants' transactions using consumption vouchers.

If individual merchants are suspected of acts of irregularity, the relevant operators will take appropriate follow-up actions, the govt warned

The government disbursed the first installment of the consumption voucher under the 2023 Consumption Voucher Scheme (CVS) to about 6.4 million eligible people on Sunday.

The six SVFs under the scheme – AlipayHK, BoC Pay, Octopus, PayMe from HSBC, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK – have set usage restrictions on the vouchers to prevent them from being used for non-designated purposes, the government pointed out.

“If individual merchants are suspected to have act of irregularities including encashment of vouchers, the relevant operators will take appropriate follow-up actions, including terminating the stored value payment service provided to the concerned merchants,” reads the government notification.

Additionally, the government made it clear that if individual merchants collude with citizens to make forged transaction records to encash consumption vouchers through unlawful means, and engage in acts such as falsification and deception, they may have committed a criminal offense.

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The CVS Secretariat will refer suspected non-compliant encashment cases to law enforcement agencies for follow-up, the notification added.