pm lee hsien loong
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Reuters

Another incident of Singapore's DBS Bank being targeted in Hong Kong has been reported even as the political crisis in Asia's financial hub goes on unabated. Photos that circulated online showed DBS branch in Hong Kong that was vandalised with vulgar graffiti directed at Singapore and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). DBS confirmed the incident and said the objectionable graffiti was removed.

Earlier, video of a shop on fire next to a DBS branch in Hong Kong had circulated on social media, triggering fears that the bank building was set on fire. While DBS did not reveal which unit was vandalised on Thursday, the fire incident had happened near the DBS branch in Yee Wo Street in shopping district Causeway Bay.

"The graffiti on the branch in Hong Kong was cleaned off as soon as it was discovered this morning," a DBS spokesperson said. He also clarified that no DBS staff was hurt in the fire at another Hong Kong branch.

Why is DGS targeted in Hong Kong?

DBS Group
DBS Group. Reuters

DBS is a Singaporean bank that has gone on to become the largest lender in South-east Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, DBS has a growing presence in Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. DBS, which was launched in 1968. has as 34 branches and over as many as 4,000 employees in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong protesters' ire was turned against DBS following comments made by Singapore Prime Minister at the Forbes Global CEO Conference. Lee said he did not think a solution to the Hong Kong stalemate was easy as the protesters were not offering a tangible solution.

What did PM Lee say?

What apparently enraged the Hong Kong protesters was the Prime Minister's comment that the agitators' main interest appeared to be to humiliate the Hong Kong administration. "The demonstrators, they say there are five major demands, and not one can be compromised. But those are not demands which are meant to be a programme to solve Hong Kong's problems. Those are demands which are intended to humiliate and bring down the government," Lee said at the Forbes Conference last month.

Attack on organisations with China backing

The irate Hong Kong protests who have been pushing back against the Carrie Lam-led administration, have also targeted China-backed institutions in the past. Though the Hong Kong protests started as an agitation against a controversial extradition law, it took on wider political colours soon after, becoming an anti-China and pro-democracy movement.

Other Chinese-linked institutions targeted in the ongoing protests include as Best Mart 360, Starbucks, Lenovo and Huawei. Protesters have also been targeting MTR, Hong Kong' premier public MTR, Hong Kong' premier public transport network as they believe that the rapid transit system,'s management hid the truth behind the death of protesters at an MTR station in August.