Bank of East Asia deputy chairman and chief executive David Li Kwok-po yesterday criticised the Government for allowing Hongkong Bank to launch its Mondex smart card before legislation is passed extending regulations to cover chip-based card products. At a Legislative Council committee meeting studying the Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996, Mr Li, who is also the legislator representing the banking constituency, said Bank of East Asia would definitely not be joining the Mondex programme. He was concerned about security of chip-based card products and said that to his knowledge, technology had been developed in the United States allowing thieves to steal the money value from such cards. Hong Kong Monetary Authority deputy chief executive for banking David Carse replied the authority had held frequent discussions with Hongkong Bank on issues relating to risk management and chip security of the Mondex cards. A review has been scheduled for a month after the soft launch of Mondex, which occurred last week. He said the Banking (Amendment) Bill included clauses which empowered the authority to regulate chip-based card products. If Legco did not pass the bill to turn it into an ordinance, the authority would have to rely on the power given by existing legislation regulating banks. Since Mondex cards were able to deal with only small dollar-value transactions during the soft launch, he did not believe the problems raised by Mr Li would be as serious as he described.