A 24-year-old man was arrested in Sham Shui Po on Sunday after he was believed to have orchestrated a stunt of throwing cash at pedestrians in the area, causing public disorder on the street.
Wong Ching-kit was suspected to have masterminded an incident in which banknotes were hurled from a building, sending the bills raining onto a street below, setting off frenzy among passersby as they sought to grab the money.
At around 2:45 pm on Saturday, police received multiple reports about somebody distributing banknotes in Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po, RTHK reports.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed onlookers trying to catch falling HK$100 bills, which were apparently thrown by someone from the rooftop of a residential building on the street.
Later in the day, Wong announced on Facebook that he would be handing out meal coupons for the elderly at a restaurant in the area nearby in Sham Shui Po at 4 pm the next day.
Wong showed up in his Lamborghini in the neighborhood in Sham Shui Po just before 4 pm on Sunday, to find himself greeted by several people who had learnt of his planned giveaway.
When he began distributing HK$500 bills, there was a scramble among the people on the street as they tried to get the banknotes from him.
Wong said he was going to hand out meal coupons at the restaurant but failed to do so as he was detained by police.
Police arrived at the scene, stopping Wong’s luxury sports car at the intersection of Fuk Wing Street and Nam Cheong Street. Officers apprehended him on the spot and cordoned off the area where his car was parked, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Wong reportedly used his smartphone to live stream his arrest on Facebook when he was sitting in a police vehicle, forcing officers to warn him repeatedly not to do so. Wong said later that he would need to talk to a lawyer.
Chief inspector Kevin Chong Kiu-wai of the police’s Sham Shui Po district crime unit said the stunt of the banknotes being thrown from a building rooftop meant a threat to public safety.
Chong urged people who picked up any spilled notes to hand them in to the police, warning them that it is illegal to pick up money in such manner without reporting to the police.
According to reports, police managed to seize a few dozen HK$100 banknotes.
At around 8 pm Sunday, Wong was handcuffed and taken back to the scene where he was arrested before officers searched his car. After nothing was found in the vehicle, he was taken to his flat in Sai Kung for further searches.
Asked if distributing money to the public is illegal, the police said they won’t comment on individual cases. But they stressed that they will take resolute enforcement actions should anyone conduct illegal acts to disrupt public order and safety.
According to Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung, those who provoke a breach of peace by distributing or spilling money may be found guilty of “disorder in public places” under section 17B of the Public Order Ordinance and face a maximum fine of HK$5,000 and up 12 months imprisonment.
Known as “Coin Young Master”, Wong reportedly made his fortune from investment in Bitcoin. He once bragged on a TVB program that he had made an over-eight-figure profit with a starting capital of just HK$300,000.
Wong is believed to have set up a company named Coin’s Group last year, with an office in Tsuen Wan, teaching people to trade virtual currencies while using his Facebook account to promote his “bright history” of investment and show off his wealth.
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