The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is reported to have uncovered semi-finished counterfeit banknotes from a safe deposit box that had been rented by one of its customers.
Officials at a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui found the fake bills on Tuesday after a customer failed to respond to calls to retrieve items stored in lockers, according to news website hk01.com.
HSBC’s branch at 21 Nathan Road had earlier notified its customers to retrieve their belongings from the safe deposit boxes in preparation for the outlet’s upcoming relocation.
As of the deadline on Tuesday, all but one customer had come to withdraw their items from the boxes.
Following the due procedures, bank officials opened the only unattended box at 4:30pm.
In the box, officials found one stack of US$1 dollar notes, another stack of white paper with watermarks of US and Euro banknotes, as well as some suspicious liquid.
Alarmed at the discovery, the staff called the police.
According to hk01.com, there were up to 5,000 pieces of US$1 notes in the box. The report cited police sources as saying that the white paper could be semi-finished counterfeit banknotes.
Authorities, meanwhile, will inspect the stack of US$1 banknotes to determine whether they are genuine or fake notes.
The person who rented the safe deposit box is believed to be a foreign national. The police are now trying to trace the person’s identity by reviewing archival CCTV footage from the bank.
An HSBC spokesperson has declined to comment on the incident, saying the case is now in the hands of the police.
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