What happens when $4.5 mil in cash spills onto a freeway? Exactly what you think
An armored car in Hong Kong accidentally released the equivalent of about $4.5 million (USD) in cash on the streets. Predictably, a frenzy ensued and the money disappeared within minutes.
The event occurred on Christmas Eve, and began when the armored car’s door accidentally opened. Three boxes, each containing HK$15 million in cash (the equivalent of $4.5 million in US dollars) fell out. Two of the three boxes were recovered intact, but the third broke open, sending $HK1,000 ($130) and $HK500 ($65) bills flying throughout the busy freeway.
It’s not yet clear how the truck’s doors flew open and the boxes fell out, but the prevailing theory is that it was just a freak accident. According to a report from the South China Morning Post, the guards in the armored car didn’t even realize what had happened at first.
As soon as the money hit the pavement, drivers, passersbys, and everyone else nearby made a mad rush for the bills. Within minutes, the cash was almost completely gone and – unsurprisingly – so were all the people.
Local authorities asked the citizens to return all the missing cash. The responding silence was deafening, leading the Hong Kong police to announce that anyone that took any of the bills needs to return them, otherwise they will be considered guilty of theft. So far 41 people have come forwarded and returned the money, but at the moment less than $900,000 (USD) of the $4.5 million has been recovered. Three citizens were taken into custody, but all three have been released on bail and no charges have been filed.
The money in question belongs to the Bank of China. The armored car, however, was operated by the international security company, G4S. That’s the same group that was responsible for the majority of the security for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London – or at least it was meant to be in charge of the majority of security. On the eve of the Opening Games, G4S announced that it wouldn’t be able to provide the full number of security guards. G4S has confirmed that it will take responsibility for the missing cash and file an insurance claim.
Four guards under contract with G4S were in the armored car when it dropped the cash, but not a one noticed what had happened for several miles.