Man in China Accidentally Receives $20,000, Thinks the Bank Set Him Up

March 16, 2016 Updated: March 17, 2016

When Mr. Zhang of central China went to the bank earlier this month to withdraw cash, he found that 134,000 yuan (about $20,000) had inexplicably ended up in his account.

The Beijing Morning Post reported on March 10 that Zhang is in outrage because he suspected the bank was trying to frame him for economic crime.

“My bank card was loaded with more than 100,000 yuan after I withdrew cash twice,” Zhang, who lives in the city of Zhengzhou, Henan Province, said. “It’s scary. I’m suspicious that they are trying to get me to commit a crime so they can frame me.”

The card that Zhang used belongs to a man surnamed Ge, and the account is with the Agricultural Bank of China. Ge had lent the card to Zhang for a business transaction in February. Around Chinese New Year (at the beginning of February), Zhang withdrew 49,000 yuan, but another 49,000 was added to his account by mistake.

When Ge learned of this, he became concerned, and the two men decided to return the money to the bank. Oddly, when Zhang attempted to do so, he was only able to return 4,000 yuan. Ultimately, further transactions caused 134,000 yuan to end up in Zhang’s account.

“If this was just the first time, then it’s probably accidental. But it’s happened on the same card in the space of several days,” Ge told the Beijing Morning Post. Like Zhang, he suspects a trap.

“I could end up becoming the Xu Ting of Henan Province,” he said.  

In 2006, Xu Ting of southern China’s Guangdong Province famously tried to run with the 175,000 yuan he had obtained from an ATM he is using. Xu had discovered that for every 1000 yuan (about $150) he withdrew, only 1 yuan would be deducted from his account.

Xu was eventually caught in November 2007 and sentenced to life in prison. Because of public outrage, the authorities reduced his punishment to 5 years.

Thankfully, Zhang and Ge’s fears were addressed when the Agricultural Bank of China sorted out the issue. On March 9, a bank spokesperson told the Beijing Morning Post that the mistakes had been made by two elderly employees. Their jobs are now suspended.