Asia

NZ bank error fugitive extradited from Hong Kong

Logo of Westpac Bank
Image caption Westpac Bank accidentally transferred millions into Leo Gao's account in 2009

A man suspected of withdrawing millions of dollars accidentally deposited into his bank account has been denied bail by a New Zealand court.

Hui "Leo" Gao, a New Zealander of Chinese origin, appeared in court shortly after he was extradited back to Auckland from Hong Kong.

The incident took place in 2009. Mr Gao and his girlfriend disappeared after the money was sent in error.

He is facing charges of theft and money laundering.

Mr Gao was arrested at a land checkpoint in Hong Kong in late September as he arrived from mainland China.

An extradition hearing was held and Chief Executive Donald Tsang subsequently ordered his extradition, the Hong Kong Police said in a statement.

Mr Gao is accused of transferring NZ$6.78m ($5.25m; £3.35m) from his account at Westpac Bank after the bank mistakenly put NZ$10m into it following his request for an overdraft.

The 30-year-old appeared in Manukau District Court on Wednesday and was ordered to remain in custody as his case is referred to a court in Rotorua, reports the local broadcaster TVNZ.

His former girlfriend, 32 years old Kara Hurring, returned voluntarily to her home country earlier this year.

She will face trial next February on charges of theft and money laundering.

Before going on the run, the pair, who have become known as New Zealand's "accidental millionaires", ran a petrol station in the scenic town of Rotorua.

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