A person wearing a Bramble Bear costume claimed a 520 million yuan (US$84.88 million) bumper lottery prize on a China Welfare Lottery ticket in Shanxi province on Monday, Chinanews reported.
It was the third largest prize since China began offering welfare lotteries, the report said. The largest-ever lottery prize of 575 million yuan was won by a Beijing resident in June 2012.
To ensure personal safety and privacy, lottery winners in China are often told to put on masks or even costumes when they come to lottery centers to claim their prizes. This sometimes creates ridiculous or hilarious situations as can be seen in the accompanying pictures.
The costume of Bramble Bear, a character in the hugely popular Chinese cartoon series Boonie Bears, is a relatively sober option, it must be said, compared to the weirder choices on display at such events.
Some winners have used masks bearing symbols on Mahjong tiles, while others have worn celebrity masks bearing visages of people such as Psy, the Gangnam Style singer. Panda or tiger costumes are also popular favorites.
Meanwhile, some netizens have wondered whether the masked winners are real or if it is just some officials playing out a charade.
“Why do lottery prize winners in foreign countries do not wear masks? … Are you [the Chinese authorities] creating fake winners to lure more funds for yourselves?” one netizen asked.
No one knows the answer.
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