MONEY floating in an electronic wonderland between computers sounds like something from science fiction. But it happened to Jim Middleton of Dynamco, and his rescue bid turned out to be rather expensive. He had a yearly instruction to pass the Association of Cricket Umpires in England the grand sum of GBP7.50 (about HK$85) every November from his Hongkong Bank account. A few weeks ago his newsletter stopped arriving and he rang the umpires to find out why, only to be told that they had changed banks and his payment had never been received. This was easy to fix - but what had happened to the GBP7.50 that disappeared from his account last November and which the umpires had not seen? It was cruelly held prisoner between the two computers in Hongkong and London, in the account of neither Jim nor the umpires. Taking pity on it, he decided to rescue it, hauling it back to his account. Hongkong Bank told him this dramatic operation would involve ''local charges'' of $250 plus ''overseas charges'' of GBP15. This works out at about $420, well in excess of the sum he would receive from the transaction. This is what is known as ''an offer you can't accept''. Where is this other world full of lost money? Can we offer to look after some of it? Here is a warning for those who pay foreign mortgages or make other large payments overseas: make sure you don't get caught out if the recipient changes banks. If the fees remain four times the amount paid, they could bankrupt you. To boldly go EVERYONE knows some strange geographical divisions set up by US and European companies whose directors have only a hazy idea of the world beyond Los Angeles but knows there's money to be made there. But DMB&B is going where no ad agency has gone before, according to last week's Media magazine and discovered by Discovery Bay's Sarah Bowett. RAG OUT HERE RAG OUT HERE RAG OUT HERE RAG OUT HERE RAG OUT HERE Bishop's tipple If Lai See was going to relocate from Hongkong to escape the effects of 1997, surely the town of Condom in France would be the most appropriate, having appeared in the column many times over the years. Now it is cashing in on its name by brewing a special Armagnac for the 60th anniversary of Durex, the world famous condom now being imported into China. The first bottles of the brew, named Bishop of Condom, will be delivered to Britain in a very appropriate way - by balloon. Tin-pot shots IT was Ferdinand Marcos and not a publicists' slip-up which was responsible for the zebras in the brochure for Club Paradise, a resort island in the Philippines. This was spotted by too many people to mention. There are zebras and much more on the nearby island of Calauit, now in the hands of committed animal experts. Years ago the late dictator threw the human inhabitants off Calauit and stocked it with animals imported from South Africa. He and his son Bong Bong could then sit on the beach and shoot them as a hobby. Photographer Chris Davis said: ''Like most of the other Marcos projects, they soon tired of it and moved on to other white elephants.'' Keeled over THE world's most hi-tech ship, the Essen Express, has broken with two centuries of maritime history by refusing to drink in Hongkong. The ship, like all others, takes in harbour water for its ballast tanks. Unlike all others it has little electronic measuring devices which analyse the water for pollution. Despite the orders of its captain the ship refused to open the ballast tanks because the water, ahem, was ''not clean'', Captain Dieter Zapff said. We tried to interview the ship to find out more but it refused to speak to us for the same reason. Fungus abroad WOULD you forgo a meeting with a vice-mayor of Beijing for a drink in the hotel jazz bar? Would you wear shorts and sandals on a high-level trip to a showpiece of China's restructuring? If you answered yes to both then there is a career for you as a fund manager in Australia, according to yesterday's Australian Financial Review, which recorded the alleged activities of 55 of these types on a fact-finding trip to China. One official from CITIC told a moving story about how during the Cultural Revolution he was forced to spend 17 hours a day labouring in a rice paddy. The response from one of the Australians: ''Jeez, that wouldn't have been much good for the tinea [athlete's foot].'' Schnappy JONAS Bjorck of Swedish Radio bristled at the suggestion that Hongkong was the first place in the world where you could make a phone call from an underground railway. He says it has been possible in Stockholm since December. But Stockholm's transport system is far behind ours in other forms of passenger convenience. Hongkong Island is surely the only place in the world where a bus driver might offer you a sip of San Mig.