Coin shortage ludicrous

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 November, 1997, 12:00am

I shall be grateful if someone in the Hong Kong Government will explain why it is taking so long to alleviate the extraordinary shortage of coins which Hong Kong has experienced for several months now.

During this time, branches of the Hongkong Bank have stopped issuing coins.

Small businesses on Hong Kong Island requiring coins have no option but to go to the coin-issuing department of the bank's head office and join monstrously long queues. On one occasion recently, it took me one hour and 41 minutes to queue for just one bag of 100 $1 coins.

I even learned on Tuesday that the bank's own branches have to send their own staff to the head office to join the queue for coins.

So, perhaps the Hongkong Bank can explain why it has done absolutely nothing to improve the efficiency of its coin-issuing operation during this shortage, why more efficient queueing systems have not been introduced and why signs explaining the shortage and queueing procedures have not been posted.

For as advanced an economy as Hong Kong's to suffer from a coin shortage is as ludicrous as it is for one of the world's most efficient banks to operate a coin-issuing department that is positively medieval in its treatment of its clients.