Woman sets fire to £20,000 by mistake

Emma Woollacott
colorhorizontalbackgroundcenterbusinessmoneychinesecommercewealthfar eastern business and culturebank of chinadetail
colorhorizontalbackgroundcenterbusinessmoneychinesecommercewealthfar eastern business and culturebank of chinadetail



A Chinese woman sent £20,000 up in smoke after stashing the cash in a wood burning stove and then forgetting it was there.

Hao Bin, 35, wanted to keep the money safe until it was needed to pay workers at her husband's construction business, and hid it inside the stove to keep it out of sight.

But the next morning, forgetting it was there, she lit the stove to make herself a cup of tea - and only realised when she went to aadd more wood.

Mrs Bin threw water onto the remains and rescued some charred notes, but was told by the Bank of China that they were in too poor a condition to be exchanged.

But according to the Mirror, Mr's Bin's 39-year-old husband, Wang, has forgiven her.

"We had not been paid ourselves yet for our work, but I needed to pay the workers so we borrowed the money from friends and family, and we wanted somewhere to keep it safe for a day before paying it out," he said.

"It was a hard blow, and my wife is devastated. But I have forgiven her, and we will survive."

It's comparatively common to keep large sums of cash at home in China, thanks to a widespread mistrust of banks. Unsurprisingly, this can frequently lead to accidents such as the Bins'.

Last year, for example, a Chinese toddler found a box of cash under his parents' bed and ripped it all into tiny pieces. The money was the deposit on the family's new flat: luckily, they were able to piece the notes together well enough for the bank to agree to replace them.

In the UK, where bank notes aren't damaged too badly, most bank branches will simply replace them then and there. They can also be sent off to the Bank of England with a Mutilated Notes Claim form.

"In making our assessment we take into account a number of factors. A key consideration for the Bank is that we should not knowingly pay out twice on the same banknote," the bank explains.

"Therefore, as a general rule, there should be physical evidence of at least half a banknote before payment can be made although an explanation of how damage has occurred to the banknote will be taken into account."

In some rare cases, however, where there's clear evidence that genuine notes have been damaged or destroyed, the bank will pay out even without half a bank note remaining.


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