Planet China

Underground lending

When the Great Fire of London broke out in September 1666, Samuel Pepys buried his papers, his wine and his Parmesan cheese in a hole in his garden. The incident is recorded in his diary, making it one of history’s best known examples of resorting to shovel and spade to protect one’s property. It’s a practice that still occurs in China too. But as the Shanghai Daily reports you have to be careful to do the digging out of sight of others. A farmer from Chongming County near Shanghai recently buried Rmb480,000 ($78,203) on his land. Unfortunately his neighbour watched him do it and guessed he might be storing cash. He then sneaked onto the farmer’s land and dug up the treasure. When the farmer discovered he’d been robbed, he immediately challenged his neighbour, calling the police when he refused to return the money. The People’s Procuratorate of Chongming County has since charged the neighbour with theft. As to the farmer, presumably he’ll now give some thought to opening a bank account.


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