An elderly street sleeper emptied his bank account and started setting fire to his life savings to protest against low interest rates on bank deposits before he was stopped by police yesterday. Chan Pak-yu, 64, withdrew $346,580 from his HSBC account - mostly in $1,000 notes - and took the cash back to the flimsy shed he lives in on Tai Ping Shan Street near Kwun Yam Temple in Sheung Wan and set fire to the banknotes. A woman who saw the notes going up in smoke reported to police and officers sped to the scene just before midday. Witnesses said Mr Chan had burned about 20 of the $1,000 notes before police arrived. He burned another $1,000 note when a reporter and photographer came to the scene later. Police tried to persuade Mr Chan to redeposit the remaining money in his bank account, but he refused. He also declined to speak to a social worker, and told officers that the matter was none of their business. Mr Chan later told reporters that he withdrew his life savings after discovering that the bank had only paid him $17.25 in interest over the past six months. He said he had been disowned by his family when he was in his early 20s because he became addicted to drugs. Mr Chan then began to sleep in the streets and made a living by shining shoes and collecting cardboard for sale to recyclers. The elderly street sleeper said he had worked hard to save his money over the past 20 years and was outraged when he realised the bank was now paying such low interest rates for deposits.