Hundreds queue for new-look $20 and $100 notes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2012, 12:00am


Hundreds queued outside banks for redesigned HK$20 and $100 banknotes which went into circulation yesterday, with many people wanting to put them in lai see packets for the Lunar New Year.

The new HK$20 notes, from all three note-issuing banks, have improved security features.

New designs feature local festivals, Chinese heritage and the city's scenic spots.

The HK$100 note was only from HSBC, to correct a flaw found in its new design in July: the five petals of the white bauhinia flower on the Hong Kong flag were pointing in the wrong direction. The notes were redesigned.

Law Ying-kuk, 71, who arrived at the HSBC branch in Yue Man Square, Kwun Tong, at 8.30am, said: 'It's tradition to have new notes for lai see. The design doesn't matter, but it's important the notes are new.'

The queue outside the branch began to form as early as 7am. The bank opened an hour earlier than usual, at 8am, but the queue continued to grow and by 9am about 200 people, mainly elderly, were in line.

Some waited for nearly two hours to get their notes, most wanting the HK$20.

Law took out HK$7,000 to fill lai see envelopes, of which HK$2,000 was in the new banknotes.

Victor Leung, 48, went to the bank for the new notes before going to work.

He said he liked the new design on the HK$20 note, which features children playing with Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns, saying it was better than the old one. 'It features people's lives in the city,' he said.

The notes are the last batch to be issued in the redesign. New HK$50 notes from the three note-issuing banks and HK$100 notes from Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of China went into circulation in November.

Redesigned HK$1,000 and HK$500 notes are also in circulation.