News24

Search on for 'millionaires'

2009-05-22 14:06

Wellington - Two people who fled New Zealand with millions of dollars obtained through a bank's mistake were believed to have gone to Hong Kong, police said on Friday.

Interpol was alerted and inquiries were being made in Hong Kong and Beijing, a statement from national police headquarters said.

The Westpac Bank admitted giving a customer an overdraft facility of NZ$10m when he had asked for NZ$10 000.

It said he tried to transfer NZ$6.7m out of the country but the bank recovered NZ$2.8m, leaving it out of pocket by NZ$3.9m.

Couple's identity unconfirmed

Police and the bank did not identify the couple, but news reports named the customer as Leo Gao, who owned an auto service station in Rotorua with a man called Huan Di Zhang.

Gao was reportedly running the struggling station, which is now in receivership, with his girlfriend, Cara or Kara Young.

Although initial reports on Thursday identified them as the couple who had disappeared with the money, Detective David Harvey said police would not confirm the identities of anyone involved at this stage of the investigation.

He said officers were working with the family of "one of those individuals who were shocked at their name being associated with the case".

The whereabouts of Huan Di Zhang, who owned 60% of the service station, was unknown, the New Zealand Herald reported.