A Hong Kong man was arrested in Taiwan on Sunday for attempting to smuggle $12.47 million New Taiwan Dollars (HK$2.89 million) back to Hong Kong in his suitcases.

The 58-year-old man surnamed Ning, was passing the security check to board a China Airlines flight to Hong Kong at Taoyuan Airport in Taipei when he was caught with the cash hidden under fruit in his luggage.

The cash haul. Photo: Central News Agency and Wikimedia commons.

An officer of the Aviation Police Bureau discovered there were irregularities in his suitcases during x-ray screening, reported Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency.

He expected to earn HK$2,000 dollars if the operation was successful.

Ning is the second cash smuggler caught at the airport in three days.

Ning told police he intended to profit from fluctuating exchange rates. If he was successful, he could cover the cost of the round trip flight, food, accommodation, as well as an extra HK$2,000 on top.

As of late Monday morning, one Hong Kong dollar was the equivalent of 4.31 Taiwanese dollars.

According to the Taiwanese Customs Administration those departing are only permitted to take $100,000 Taiwanese dollars in cash out of the country. Those who are looking to take more will need approval from the Central Bank.

Any amount above the limit risks confiscation.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.