30th May 2023 – (Shanghai) A man named Zheng opened a bank account at China CITIC Bank and deposited RMB 6 million (about HKD 6.67 million) in November 2016 to use as working capital for his company’s daily operations. To prevent hacking and virus risks, he also opened a “U shield” security feature for the account. However, during the time he was having lunch, the entire RMB 6 million vanished from his account. He received a text message from the bank reminding him of a RMB 20,000 (about HKD 22,249) expenditure, which he initially thought was a spam message. However, within 15 minutes, he received over 200 text messages, each showing an expenditure of RMB 20,000. By then, the total expenditure had reached RMB 5.28 million (about HKD 5.87 million).
Zheng rushed to the bank and called customer service, but they were unable to explain the situation. They advised him to report the loss immediately. Afterward, only RMB 690 (about HKD 768) remained in his account. The bank was unable to identify the cause of the loss and asked him to wait for further information, but after more than ten days, there was still no response. When Zheng went to the bank to inquire about the matter, the staff were indifferent and unhelpful.
The bank officials later explained that the money was stolen by a Shanghai-based company. They suspected that Zheng had some kind of business relationship with the company and considered the expenditure as “normal.” However, Zheng denied any knowledge of the company and any business relationship with them. He demanded that the bank recover the stolen money and compensate him for the full amount of RMB 6 million if they could not retrieve it.
The police later got involved and found that the money had been transferred to an account at a bank in Chengdu. They froze the account but it is still unclear whether the money can be recovered.
Netizens criticised the bank for being irresponsible and unreliable, with their online banking security system being no different from online scams. Some even speculated that the bank was involved in the theft.