Fewer people join queues outside banks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2008, 12:00am

Fewer people waited outside six Bank of China (Hong Kong) branches for commemorative Olympic banknotes yesterday, but the bank said it was preparing for another overnight distribution of tickets that entitle holders to buy the notes.

The first phase of the sale kicked off yesterday at 50 branches across the city, with just six branches selling all five packages of the notes.

Two queues formed early yesterday at each of the six branches - one to pick up tickets and the other to buy the banknotes.

'Although there are fewer people queueing up today, we are still prepared to distribute the tickets overnight and will serve the last customer to come,' a bank spokeswoman said.

She said tickets for the first eight days of the sale were running out, and only two of the five packages were still available - the single HK$20 note and the package including a HK$20 note and a 20 pataca note.

She said people planning to buy the single note should go to the other 44 branches where most buyers could receive the banknotes shortly after getting their tickets.

At the bank's headquarters in Central there were 300 to 400 people lined up at the entrance by 9am. In the afternoon, the queue had shortened to about 100 people. At noon, a number of officer workers on their lunch breaks joined other queues outside the bank.

The bank's sales arrangement disappointed a mainland buyer who arrived in the city on Tuesday hoping to buy a set of the most sought-after package of 35 uncut notes.

'I think it is totally unfair,' said the mainland woman, who refused to give her name.

'The bank previously said it would start the sale from today. How come such a big bank broke its promise so easily?'

The bank says the first phase of the sale will run until the end of the month, followed by a second phase from August 8 to 22 at Olympic equestrian venues in the city.