Hong Kong crash sparks money grab

  • 24 December 2014
  • From the section Asia
Media captionPeople left their cars to scramble for cash on a busy road in Hong Kong

Hong Kong police have appealed to the public to return millions of dollars taken after a van transporting HK$525m ($68m; £44m) crashed on a major road.

About HK$35m ($4.5m; £3m) worth of banknotes were left strewn across the tarmac after the road accident.

Witnesses said dozens of people rushed to pocket the cash before armed police arrived to secure the area.

Some HK$20m was retrieved and police warned that failure to return the rest would be "a very serious crime".

The incident happened at lunchtime on one of Hong Kong's busiest roads in the Wan Chai district on Hong Kong Island, causing major disruption as people abandoned their cars to collect the notes.

Image copyright SCMP
Image caption Photographs showed banknotes littered across the road in Wan Chai district
Image copyright SCMP
Image caption Armed police secured the area after the incident and recovered HK$20m
Image copyright SCMP
Image caption Police officers were seen counting notes recovered from the scene of the crash

Individual notes were seen spread across the carriageway but witnesses also reported seeing bundles of HK$500 notes wrapped in plastic.

One witness told the South China Morning Post that she saw a "regular looking Hong Kong lady" take at least 10 bundles before leaving the scene.

"She had an armful of bricks of cash - it was as much as she could carry. She just disappeared into the depths of Wan Chai," the witness said.

Speaking shortly afterwards, police superintendent Wan Siu-hong called on those who had picked up any money to hand it over to police as soon as possible.

"If he or she keeps the money for [their] own use, [they] may commit an offence of theft which is a very serious crime under ordinance," he told reporters.

He said police had launched an inquiry into the cause of the accident, adding that they "cannot rule out any possibilities at this moment".

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