A bundle of greenbacks worth US$10,000 discovered by cleaning staff at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport earlier this year has been returned to its owner after a four-month investigation, aviation police sources said on Saturday.
The search for the money’s owner began when an airport cleaner found the cash inside the pocket of a blue coat left at a passenger lounge and handed it to the Aviation Police Office on March 1, the sources said.
A document written in Vietnamese found in the same pocket provided the initial clue. With the help of a Vietnamese staff member at the airport, aviation police discovered that the document was a type of Vietnamese household registration certificate.
After careful screening of surveillance camera footage, the police tentatively concluded that the coat was inadvertently left behind by a Vietnamese-American man who boarded a US-bound China Airlines flight.
The man, who had a US passport, boarded the plane after a transit stop at Taoyuan airport on the day the coat was discovered.
“The man looked frustrated and reluctantly boarded the plane after talking with ground crew members in an agitated manner,” an aviation police officer said.
The police then contacted the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), asking it to help locate a man named “Le Hill Tan,” the English name shown on the Vietnamese document.
The AIT told airport police two months later that it could not find any information about the man in question.
However, aviation police were undaunted by the setback. They decided to check the name on the man’s passport to see if it might be different than the one used on the document in the man’s coat pocket.
“We spotted the name ‘Le Tan Huu’ after scrutinizing name lists of all transit passengers and asked the AIT again to help search for the man,” the officer said.
Late last month, the airport police were finally told by the AIT that the man had been located.
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