Hong Kong man burns bank notes to protest low interest rates

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Hong Kong man burns bank notes to protest low interest rates

    HONG KONG (AP) - A man decided he literally had money to burn and angrily set fire to thousands of dollars in cash because his savings had earned virtually no bank interest.

    Newspapers and officials said Tuesday that Chan Pak-yu, 63, burned 22,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$2,800) to protest interest rates that have fallen to near zero.

    He was outraged when he realized his nest egg of HK$346,580.05 (US$44,400) had generated only HK$17.50 (US$2.24) at the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. over the past six months, the South China Morning Post reported.

    On Monday Chan withdrew all but 5 Hong Kong cents (0.6 U.S. cents) and started burning the cash, according to the Oriental Daily News.

    News accounts described Chan as a homeless scavenger who lives on next to nothing despite his savings.

    Police were called to the scene and found Chan with seven bank notes ablaze.

    Chan later calmed down and stopped burning money, said police spokeswoman Carrie So. She said she could not confirm other details from the news reports.

    The Oriental Daily News said Chan later put his money back in the bank, minus HK$22,000 (US$2,800) he had destroyed.

    Hong Kong links its dollar at a steady exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, and interest rates in the territory have plunged along with a series of cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

    The rate on savings deposits at HSBC now stands at 0.01 percent.

    Chan reportedly spends about HK$10 (US$1.28) a day and profits from selling items collected from trash cans and dumps. Newspapers said Chan sleeps in the open and has a makeshift shack made of plastic sheets and wooden planks.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Only in HK would a scavenger / homeless person have more in the bank than most ordinary folk in Europe or the US. Specially the US.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Back in Toronto now - after 10 1/2 years in HK

    So true! Back around '80 on a visit to HK I remember being amused at seeing a couple of old Chinese ladies in black 'amah' dress in backlane shops in TST nonchalantly stuffing their veggie shopping into large-ish 'Gucci' handbags (fakes abounded in HK long before mainland discovered manufacturing for export). My buddy who was living here cautioned me: they might look amusingly unsophisticated, but it was very typical for such women to have anything from a quarter to a half million HK dollars invested in the stock market.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Homeless? Where do they send the bank statements

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    North Point

    That's quite a bump, MR.LAM.

    Money should either be spent or invested. Having a lot of cash or a big bank account might look nice, but it is useless. He should either spend it all or use that money to make more money.