Hundreds of suspected operators of underground banks have been arrested this year in a nationwide crackdown on the multibillion-yuan illegal cross-border money trade, the South China Morning Post reports. In all, 450 suspects from 192 illegal banks had been rounded up in relation to 200 billion yuan (HK$234 billion) in illicit transactions, the Ministry of Public Security’s newspaper, China Police Daily, reported. The crackdown comes as the mainland faces strong capital outflow pressures, partly due to expectations of a weakening yuan. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen by about US$450 billion in the last year despite signs of stabilization in ¬recent months. The capital account is largely closed to individuals except for a few channels, such as the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock link.
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