A college student in Taitung County, surnamed Chen (陳), who wanted to take NT$1,000 out of his post office account mistakenly withdrew NT$5,000 from a post office ATM on Monday, and then left the excess in the cash slot in the belief that the money would be returned to his account.
According to the post office where the incident occurred, its staff put in five hours of overtime trying to track Chen down and return the money to his account.
The Chinese-language United Daily News quoted Chen as saying in a telephone interview that he had been unsure about taking the unwanted money, and thought that the money would simply go back into the ATM’s cash supply.
The paper quoted the post office staff as saying that they were surprised when they found the ATM had NT$4,000 more than it should when they were doing the day’s final accounts. They started to go through the ATM records item by item as well as searching its video surveillance footage.
The United Daily News reported that the post office workers spent almost five hours going through the records and surveillance footage before deciding to concentrate on all the people who had withdrawn NT$5,000 or more and calling them to see if they had left the money in the cash slot.
About 10pm that night, Chen was identified and the money was restored to his account, the United Daily News reported.
The post office staff said that they were relieved to have finally found Chen.
The post office said ATMs cannot take back unwanted bills, so it urged people to take all the money they have withdrawn, adding that usually in such incidents, if the owner of the left cash cannot be identified, the money is placed in a public account.