Hongkong Clearing chairman John Chan Cho-chak has hit back strongly at criticism by Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong that Hongkong Clearing had undermined the Government's $100 billion intervention package. Mr Yam on Wednesday said Hongkong Clearing had not implemented strictly the T+2 settlement rule and had instead given speculators an extra day's grace to settle trades, significantly reducing their losses. Mr Chan rebuffed Mr Yam's comments, saying the clearing company had no duty to penalise speculators on the Government's behalf and had no responsibility to represent the Government in its efforts to fend off speculators. 'The role of the clearing house is to ensure transactions can be settled smoothly,' he said. 'Questions of market regulation are not our concern, and nor is which players are desirable to stay in the market. This is none of our business.' Rules state all trades must be settled two days after the trade is executed, but the clearing house usually gives two days grace before brokers have to settle. Following requests from the HKMA, the clearing house tightened the grace period from two days to one day on Monday. Mr Yam, however, criticised the clearing house for still allowing a one-day grace period. He said this had allowed speculators more time to cover short positions and had reduced their losses, contrary to Government desires. Mr Chan said the Hongkong Clearing's rules indicated clearly that there would be a one-day grace period after the T+2 settlement day. He said the clearing house would study whether to change this rule during next week's board meeting but emphasised it would be impossible to implement any changes this week. 'The rule has been working smoothly for the past six years and we cannot change it in such a hasty manner,' he said. 'It is just like when you are playing a game, you can't change the rules during the game. We can only adjust the rules before the game starts next time.' It was revealed on Wednesday that 244 brokers had been unable to settle trades worth $14.6 billion, conducted last Friday, by Tuesday's deadline. However, most brokers settled their positions on Wednesday, leaving only $1.3 billion of unsettled trades.