Long queues form outside Macau lender's branches as rumours of limit on withdrawals and worries over future fuel panic As word of looming US government action against Banco Delta Asia began to spread yesterday morning, panicky depositors swamped the lender's eight branches in Macau hoping to withdraw savings. At the bank's headquarters in Rua do Campo, queues began to form in the morning after the US Treasury Department's accusations against the bank were splashed across the front pages of most of Macau's newspapers. Claims that each depositor was not allowed to withdraw more than 30,000 patacas and that they were not allowed to cancel their accounts fed the rumour mill. The noon news bulletins fuelled the panic, and the crowd swelled at the bank's headquarters to around 300 at 6.30pm, when the bank closed its doors to latecomers. 'My friends called me up and told me to withdraw my savings as soon as possible. I don't know what's going on and I didn't read the newspapers today. I saw more and more people lining up at the banks, so I figured I better protect my savings,' said a customer named Ann, who had been in the queue since 1pm. 'I just want to withdraw all my money. They are my savings that I earned with hard work,' said Ann, a customer for more than eight years. With the demand for cash so overwhelming, the lender had to resort to bank drafts. Tickets were distributed to depositors to collect their savings later as bank drafts also failed to meet the demand. It took six hours for another customer, Mr Chow, and his friends to successfully withdraw almost all the money from their union's savings account. 'We just left 1,000 patacas in the account. This line really moved so slowly that it took about half an hour to settle one depositor. 'We didn't want a bank draft. But the bank ran out of cash. It's better than nothing,' said Mr Chow, who joined the crowd after hearing of the bank run on a radio news broadcast. Ms Leung was one of the few lucky savers who got her savings back in cash after the bank's stock was replenished after 6.30pm. 'I cancelled the account and got a few thousand patacas back. It just took too long. The government didn't announce anything to calm the public and the bank didn't bother to tell us what was going on,' she said. 'But, I am so relieved now that I have my money back.' A policeman surnamed Leong said up to six officers were deployed to control the crowds. He described the situation as peaceful, although some depositors were heard arguing with the bank's security guards after they were refused entry after 6.30pm.