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    Bank Safe Boxes Crushed As Scrap Metal

    49 minutes ago
    HONG KONG - Safe boxes from a local branch of a Singapore-based bank were taken away and crushed as scrap metal, leaving customers shocked and angry at the loss of their most valued possessions, newspapers reported Wednesday.

    Embarrassed executives at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) say they will take "ultimate responsibility" after 83 boxes filled with valuables were removed by a renovation contractor, then dumped and compressed in a local junkyard, according to several reports.

    It will be difficult to determine how much was destroyed in the boxes, which typically contain family heirlooms and valuables such as jewelry, cash, stock certificates and bonds, but the South China Morning Post said the losses were expected to come into the millions of dollars.

    The boxes were mistakenly removed, along with almost 800 empty ones, during renovations at a DBS branch, but by the time the mistake was discovered on Sunday the boxes and their contents had been crushed by industrial compressors, the Post said.

    Customers were outraged.

    "This is absurd," the Post quoted one victim as saying. "I put my stuff there because I trust the bank. How could something like this have happened?"

    The DBS head of consumer banking, Sunny Cheung, was quoted as calling the incident tragic and saying teams of workers were trying to retrieve anything that could be salvaged from the compressed metal wreckage.

    No one answered the phone early Wednesday when The Associated Press rang DBS seeking comment.

    Local media quoted the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which functions as the territory's de facto central bank, and the Hong Kong Association of Banks as saying they would look into the matter.
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