Two Women Arrested in Hengshui for Triggering Bank Run Panic via Online Rumours

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Police in Hebei province have arrested two people over the spread of online rumours that threatened to trigger a local bank run

Police in Hengshui city, Hebei province, arrested two people on 11 July for spreading false rumours that Bank of Hengshui (衡水银行) had sealed accounts.

According to a police circular released by Hengshui authorities on 13 July a 33-year old woman named Yang *yun, and a 39-year old woman named Liu *fang had been arrested for disseminating information which “triggered a mood of public panic and caused adverse social influence.”

Police in Hengshui called for members of the public as well as depositors to refrain from “making, believing and spreading rumours,” as well as for them to “jointly uphold a healthy financial and social order.”

On 12 July the local offices of the Chinese central bank and banking regulator announced that from 11 to 12 July multiple depositors attempted to withdraw cash in advance from Bank of Hengshui, triggering panic amongst some depositors, as well as serving as a pretext for subsequent online rumours.

Authorities sought to reassure the public that “Bank of Hengshui is a municipal commercial bank that was officially approved for establishment by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

“Bank of Hengshui has taken deposit insurance with the People’s Bank of China, and all rights of depositors are lawfully protected by the government.

“At present Bank of Hengshui has ample funds, and is completely capable of ensuring the withdrawal demand of depositors and protecting deposit security.

“We request that depositors calm down – everyone’s deposits in Bank of Henghsui are safe, and interest is also considerable.”

Hengshui’s bank run panic arrives just following the launch of new cash management trials that require advance registration for withdrawals of 100,000 yuan or more.

China’s regional banking sector has been roiled by a string of potential bank runs since May 2019, when the central government took over the beleaguered Baoshang Bank in the province of Inner Mongolia.

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