The RMB50,000 puzzle, not worth it
Ever wonder what RMB50,000 torn into tiny pieces looks like? Here's your answer.
A woman suffering from a mental disorder used scissors and her hands to tear 500 hundred-yuan notes into pieces no larger than a cigarette lighter. The money was to be used for her medical treatment.
Her husband, Lin Zhaoqiang from Jintang, frantically gathered the pieces into a plastic bag, which he brought to the Bank of China in Chengdu, arriving in desperation even before it opened.
At 9 a.m. he was shown into the bank's conference room, where he dumped all of the pieces of the notes onto the table, filling the 10 sqm surface.
According to the People's Bank regulations, torn or damaged bills can be exchanged only once they have been pieced together as a whole, explained operations manager Zhang Ping. Because the money was to be used for medical treatment, he assigned 12 bank employees to help Lin piece the notes together.
After considering their strategy for about 10 minutes, the employees decided to group all pieces with a similar part of the note design together. After three hours, they decided they needed a new approach and started to piece together a bill while organizing the pieces. The task proved to be challenging because for any particular piece they looked for, there were 499 others like it.
The 12 employees spent six hours piecing together one note, and after that they gave up.
In their current condition, the bills are completely invalid. "There's nothing we can do," said Zhang Ping.
Most damaged bills that are returned to the bank have been burnt, mildewed, or chewed on by rodents, said a bank employee. Regardless of the cause of the damage, however, at least three-quarters of the bill must be intact in order for it to be exchanged at the bank for its full value. Bills that are one-half to three-quarters intact are exchanged at half of their original value, and any bills under 50 percent intact are not accepted for exchange.
Netizens suggested exchanging the money based on its weight, but Zhang said that this cannot be done in case there are counterfeit shreds among the authentic ones. Others suggested using digital technology to piece the shreds together, but Zhang said that there is no device with such capability.
Late in the afternoon, Lin Zhaoqiang gathered the pieces carefully into his plastic bag and left the bank, saying he would not give up hope.
Photos courtesy of Huaxi Evening Post
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