Washington’s decision freezes the American assets of the 15 officials and criminalizes any financial transaction in the United States.
In an interview with local English television channel HKIBC which aired Friday night, Lam said she “used money every day for everything” after being sanctioned.
“Sitting across from you is a general manager of the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) who has no banking services available to him,” Lam told HKIBC.
“I have lots of cash at home, the government pays me cash for my salary,” she added.
Lam added that it was “very honorable” to be “unduly sanctioned” by the US government and that he did not want to dissuade anyone from serving in the public service.
Earning 5.21 million Hong Kong dollars ($ 672,000) per year, Lam is one of the highest paid leaders in the world.
His remarks sparked a backlash from the public, with social media users posting photos of coins in their home piggy banks to contrast Lam’s wealth.
Others wondered how his big salary would be transported to his residence in cash.
Lam told media in August that she was facing “a bit of inconvenience” due to the sanctions preventing her from using credit cards.