A city-wide signature campaign is being launched by the Liberal Party against the controversial plan by HSBC to raise the minimum for cash withdrawals from cash machines to HK$300. Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the bank's decision was disappointing. He also criticised it for having failed to consult the public. The bank announced last week that from January 6, the minimum cash withdrawal from its ATMs would be increased from HK$100 to HK$300. The bank said the goal was to shorten customer waiting times by up to 10 per cent. The move, however, has sparked a public outcry. Mr Tien, who yesterday led about a dozen party colleagues to collect signatures at a shopping centre in Sha Tin, said he had written to Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, chairman of HSBC's Asia Pacific operations, urging him to reverse the decision. 'It will be a big blow to elderly or underprivileged people. There are also fears other banks will follow suit,' Mr Tien said. 'If HSBC really wants to cut the waiting time, a simple and easy way is to set up more ATMs. 'More importantly, there is no evidence that the long waiting time is because too many people withdraw money at ATMs. We all know that many services are now provided by ATMs, like paying fees.' The party said 1,000 signatures were collected in a few hours yesterday. Mr Tien said a similar signature campaign would be launched in other districts and he would arrange a meeting with HSBC management. The bank has 620 ATMs at 350 locations in the city. Other major banks, including Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank, said they had no plans to raise their minimum cash withdrawal limit.