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Bank of East Asia

Hong Kong bank mistakenly dumps customer cheque deposit box

Bank of East Asia customers who had used the cheque deposit box at its outlet on 305 Castle Peak Road on Saturday, September 30, have been advised to contact the branch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 12:18am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 October, 2017, 10:52pm

The Bank of East Asia has urged anyone who put cheques into a collection box at its Cheung Sha Wan branch on a day last month to contact them after it realised that the box was “accidentally” dumped by renovation workers.

In an announcement on its website on Tuesday night, the bank said people who had used the cheque deposit box at its outlet on 305 Castle Peak Road on Saturday, September 30, were advised to contact the branch as soon as possible.

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“Due to procedural oversight during renovation work, which was carried out at the branch during the previous weekend, the cheque deposit box was accidentally disposed of, and cheques deposited into the box were lost as a result,” it said.

The bank apologised for the inconvenience which it might have caused. It will provide help to the affected customers.w

Concerned box users should contact Miss Chow at the branch at (852) 3609 2600, or visit the branch in person.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the consequences of the incident could vary.

“People might suffer financial losses. Somebody might need to pay late charges or interest payments if their payments by cheques were late. You don’t know what sizes their businesses are.”

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He said there seemed to be issues relating to the bank’s supervision. And the bank should first of all contact all the affected people and be more watchful for suspicious cheques in this period.

“How could such an important device be handled by renovation workers so easily? There should have been bank staff watching over the workers.”

Kenneth Tsin, head of the bank’s channel management and operations department, said six of the 10 affected customers had been contacted as of Wednesday.

“We identified some of them through surveillance camera footage, while others got in touch with us after hearing about the news,” he said.

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The customers were “satisfied” with the remedial measures taken, Tsin said, although he would not disclose the number of transactions involved.

He added that if customers were able to prove that they had incurred additional expenses because of the incident, the bank would cover the costs.

Tsin stressed that such a blunder was very rare and urged affected customers who had yet to be identified to come forward.

A similar incident happened in October 2004 involving the Mei Foo branch of DBS Bank, where 83 safety deposit boxes were mistakenly sent to a scrapyard and crushed. The bank admitted it was due to human error and a lack of formalised procedures.