In the face of intense speculation over his possible departure, BoC Hong Kong (Holdings) vice-chairman and chief executive Liu Jinbao yesterday again sidestepped questions about his future. During the past few months, unsubstantiated market talk has circulated that Mr Liu's term with the bank is coming to a close. Among the snippets of speculation is that he will take the helm of the Bank of Communications - a charge he has denied repeatedly. 'I have been here for 5.5 years. I have never been told how long I would stay at the bank,' Mr Liu said yesterday. 'This talk is putting pressure on me and disrupted my normal working order.' However, according to the bank's listing prospectus, Mr Liu has signed a service agreement for a term of three years from October 1, 2001. This means his agreement expires in October next year. That, of course, could be subject to renewal. He would not say whether he would stay until October next year. He also denied any plans by the bank to seek a listing in the United States, a plan which was scrapped last year. BoC HK chairman Liu Mingkang, who is also concurrent chairman of its parent Bank of China, is to leave the bank as soon as the premier announce his appointment as the head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Yesterday, however, he was still the governor of Bank of China, according to a bank statement.