Absent-minded bus travellers leave boxing gloves - and HK$2.2m in cash

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 July, 2010, 12:00am

Boxing gloves sit inside a baby carriage propped against an 8 kilogramme bag of premium Thai rice beside a table-top induction cooker.

Alongside, a cross-line laser - a device used by construction crews - and bottles of extra virgin olive oil share table space.

All these items, left on buses over the past year, sit in the lost-property section of the Kowloon Motor Bus depot, waiting to be claimed.

In addition, HK$2.2 million in cash has been found on buses in the past year, 88 per cent of which has been returned to its owners.

The largest single cash sum was HK$105,000, found in November by a driver and his supervisor, after a foreigner left it behind and contacted the bus company.

KMB has a streamlined system for dealing with the more than 5,400 items of lost property that get hauled in every month. Drivers check their buses after every trip and leave any items with the terminus supervisors.

Items not claimed within a day are sent to the depot's lost-property section. After three months, they are offered to the finder of the item. If there are still no takers, they are auctioned off to businesses, which may recycle or resell them.

Overall, six out of 10 items lost on board KMB buses have been returned to passengers. More than eight out of 10 items showing personal details - such as bank cards, Hong Kong ID cards and student ID cards - make it back to their owners. KMB tries to trace the owners or sends the items to the issuing authorities.

Sales of unclaimed items, along with unclaimed cash, have raised about HK$100,000 for the Community Chest.

The most commonly forgotten objects are Octopus cards, which accounted for 12 per cent of all lost property. The number of bags left on board increased nearly two-thirds this year.

'This may be due to the environmental levy on plastic shopping bags implemented in July last year, as more passengers now carry [reusable] bags,' Yeung Kwok-ho, assistant manager of operations at KMB's Tuen Mun depot, said.

Yet how people manage to leave behind possessions as valuable as bags of money or as large as baby strollers is something only the owners know.

'Maybe they're just careless,' Yeung said.