Massive cash stash found in South Korea garlic field
- 12 April 2011
- From the section Asia-Pacific
South Korean police have dug up a stash of 11bn won ($10m, £6.2m), most of it buried in a garlic field, reports say.
The money is believed to be the proceeds of an illegal internet gambling operation, for which one of two brothers is already in jail.
Their brother-in-law helped out by burying the cash, and then helped himself to some of it, police said.
When he then accused a landscaper of stealing a chunk of cash, police moved in and unearthed it, they said.
Television footage has shown police pulling out two dozen containers, each brimming with cash.
According to the police version of the story, the brother-in-law, a 52-year-old man identified only as Mr Lee, bought the garlic field in south-western Gimje.
His gambling relatives had felt pressured by police investigations and asked for his help in hiding the money, Yonhap news agency reported.
He worked at dusk and dawn, as if farming, to bury the containers.
His own greed led to his downfall however, police say: First he dug up about 400m won and spent it, without telling the brothers he had helped himself.
Then he tried to blame a workman who was helping to landscape the plot; that man complained about being falsely accused, leading police to the field.
Police then interviewed more members of the Lee family and consequently found money hidden in a car and an apartment.
The 11bn won was part of 17bn won the in-laws allegedly earned in profits by operating an illegal internet gambling site in South Korea with a server in Hong Kong, Yonhap reported.
The 24 plastic containers carried 8.6bn won in cash; most of notes were 50,000-won bills.
"We searched all over the field and we don't believe there is any cash left. We will evaluate the discovered money and question the detained brother over the illegal profits," a police investigator was quoted by Yonhap.
Police plan to confiscate the cash and seek an arrest warrant for Mr Lee.