Banknotes falling from the sky send crowd into a frenzy in Hong Kong neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po
- The owner of a cryptocurrency page claimed to have been behind the stunt
- Police instructed members of the public not to pick up the cash
One of Hong Kong’s poorest neighbourhoods was witness to a scene straight out of a movie on Saturday afternoon, as a hail of banknotes fluttered in the air, sending a crowd of bystanders into a frenzy.
A police spokeswoman said the force had received reports of someone distributing money at Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po, and officers were deployed to the scene.
A Post reporter spotted some HK$100 (US$13) banknotes near the Golden Computer Arcade and officers told people not to pick them up.
Police later said officers at the scene had collected around HK$5,000, but that no one had been arrested.
A video emerged on Facebook showing a man dressed in a black hoodie who appeared to be making an announcement: “Today, December 15, is FCC’s big day in announcing the trading race. I hope everyone here will pay attention to this important event …[I] don’t know whether any of you will believe money can fall from the sky.”
After the man finished his speech, the camera panned to the right, showing banknotes being thrown from the rooftop of a building.
A police source said they were trying to locate the man behind the stunt.
The man is believed to be the owner of the Epoch Cryptocurrency, a Facebook page that promotes cryptocurrency. He is widely known online as “Coin Young Master” and his real name is Wong Ching-kit.
In a Facebook video posted shortly after the stunt, Wong claimed he was “robbing the rich to help the poor”.
When asked why he did it, Wong paused to think, and said: “Don’t blame it on me, I also don’t know why money could fall from the sky.”
He also asked people watching the video where in the city they would like to see the “strange phenomenon”.
The young man has given media interviews under various monikers, promoting investment products, including a HK$27,500 computer he claimed could be used for cryptocurrency mining.
Company search reports showed Wong owns a company called Coin’s Group. The firm was initially called Oscar Holding Group in 2017 but the name was changed on July 3 this year.
Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung, felt “Coin Young Master” had breached the public order ordinance by causing disorder in a public place.
“How did he do his promotion? He wanted to create chaos to do it,” he said.
The maximum penalty for such an offence is a HK$5,000 fine and 12 months in prison, he added.
Luk said that usually when passers-by pick up lost money and do not report it to the police, they would be breaking the law.
But in this case, as “Coin Young Master” had intended to give out the money, Luk said, those who collected the banknotes did not have dishonest intentions.
To avoid a misunderstanding with the law, Luk suggested people should just ignore the banknotes or hand them in to police.
Lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), who is also a Sham Shui Po district councillor, said he had urged police to follow up on the case and he was worried about the source of the money.
He said the scenes appeared to be dangerous as the area was a busy place at weekends, and he did not agree with such attention-seeking actions.
Fellow DAB lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan also called on police to investigate whether the money involved was acquired by legal means. She urged officers to clarify whether members of the public would be breaking the law if they used the money they picked up.
Additional reporting by Phila Siu, Sum Lok-kei and Danny Mok