Traffic came to a halt on Wednesday when bundles of new Hong Kong 500 dollar notes flew out of a security van. Drivers and passersby were not shy about taking advantage of the Christmas Eve windfall.
Video posted on the BBC shows people abandoning their cars and scrambling to pick up bills strewn across a busy eight-lane roadway. The cash blizzard littered the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong around lunchtime.
According to the South China Morning Post, one witness said she saw at least one person collect an armful of 500 notes, still bound in plastic, before disappearing. Each HK$500 note is equivalent to about $65 U.S.
It’s estimated that about $4.5 million U.S. flew out of the van when three plastic bins dropped out the back door. Armed police arrived on the scene and shut down Gloucester Road but not before some $2 million went missing. The owners of the security company moving the money want it back.
“I would like to take the opportunity to appeal to every member of the public that if they picked up any money to handover to any police officer or any police station as soon as possible,” said police superintendent Wan Siu-hong.
“If he or she keeps the money for his own use, he may commit an offence of theft which is a very serious crime under ordinance,” he said.
According to the BBC, the hapless driver of the cash transport van drove several miles before he realized the money was missing.