Two arrested in Hong Kong cash grab after millions in banknotes spill from security van

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By Chieu Luu and Tim Hume
CNN

HONG KONG (CNN – Dec. 26, 2014) — Two people were arrested Thursday evening after police said they snatched some of the nearly 15.23 million Hong Kong dollars that spilled from a money transport van onto a street on Christmas Eve.

A 43-year-old man was arrested in Kowloon and a 36-year-old woman was taken into custody in Tseung Kwan O, police said.

They are accused of stealing bank notes off the street and hiding the money in their homes.

Authorities said 29 people have voluntarily handed over the money resulting in HK$5.7 million being returned. Those that voluntarily returned the money likely will not face charges, police said.

It was a wild scene as last-minute shoppers in Hong Kong were treated to a Christmas Eve cash grab when the bills spilled from a money transport van into the street.

Passing motorists and pedestrians were caught on camera helping themselves to banknotes scattered in Gloucester Road in the city’s Wan Chai district at around lunchtime, before police arrived to secure the loot and disperse the opportunists.

Three cash boxes had fallen from the van, resulting in the loss of an estimated 15.23 million Hong Kong dollars (nearly $2 million U.S.), police said Thursday.

A statement from the security company that operates the cash transport van, G4S, said “the majority” of the money had been recovered from the scene.

“G4S vehicles have in place a number of systems to prevent such occurrences and G4S has commenced an immediate investigation into the causes of the incident,” the statement said. “We will take urgent steps to prevent any similar cases happening again in the future.”

CNN’s Mitra Mobasherat and C.Y. Xu contributed to this report.