A Taiwanese man, Chen Wen-bin, attempted to put more than 1000 sheets of “hell money” into an ATM on Monday night, according to Taiwan media outlet China Daily.

“Hell money” is part of the myriad of paper offerings that are often burnt in Asian cultures as tributes for the dead.

Chen’s “hell money,” which included notes in Taiwanese and American currency, was rejected by an ATM in New Taipei City. Onlookers reported his behaviour to the police, which led to his arrest.

Chen Wen-bin. Photo: China Daily.

According to China Daily, Chen told police that he was putting in the money “for his good brothers” so that they can purchase things in the afterlife. He said that he tried to use an ATM because he was afraid that after he burnt the money it would be lost.

When the police asked him why there was “hell money” in American currency, Chen said “Do you think that the only place where people die is Taiwan?”

Chen’s “hell money.” Photo: China Daily.

After an investigation, police said that Chen had in fact tried to put “hell money” into the ATM in an attempt to exchange it for real paper money.

Paper offerings hit the headlines earlier this year as Gucci warned Hong Kong funeral shops not to sell “fakes” of its products. Gucci later apologised.


Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.