WELLINGTON, New Zealand — From running a gas station to just plain running: A New Zealand couple who dropped out of sight after a bank error gave them a multimillion-dollar line of credit was being sought in Hong Kong, police said Friday.
An international search was under way for the man and his girlfriend, who disappeared two days after a bank mistakenly handed them a credit line of 10 million New Zealand dollars ($6.1 million) — 100 times their approved limit of NZ$100,000 ($61,000).
An account holder then tried to transfer about $4 million out of the account, but the bank was able to recover $1.7 million, the bank said. The statement did not specify how it got the money back.
“Westpac is continuing to vigorously pursue the outstanding amount” of $2.3 million, the bank said.
A New Zealand woman told the TV3 network that the two being sought by police were her daughter, Kara Yang, and boyfriend Leo Gao, who were traveling with Yang’s 7-year-old daughter, Leena.
Sue Hurring said that her daughter was “honest” and issued a plea for her to turn herself in.
“Just come home now,” Hurring told the network. “It will be OK.”
The New Zealand Press Association also reported the names of the couple, although neither police nor the bank have identified the pair.
Detective Senior Sgt. David Harvey said Interpol was investigating in Hong Kong and was also working with officials in Beijing. The New Zealand Herald quoted unnamed police as saying the two were believed to be in Hong Kong.
Westpac said the couple, who ran a gas station in the North Island city of Rotorua — a favorite tourist destination known for its scenery, sparkling lakes and geysers — had the equivalent of a $61,000 credit limit. In formalizing the couple’s limit, the bank accidentally opened a line of credit for $6.1 million.