Westpac duo's days are numbered, say authorities news
26 May 2009

Authorities are hot on the trail of a New Zealand couple who have fled to Asia with $8 million of Westpac's money which they obtained because the bank made a mistake. The couple are believed to be in Hong Kong, but have apparently split up. Apart from police, private investigators hired by the bank are also on their trail.

The duo, Leo Gao and Kara Hurring, shut their bankrupt service station in the north island city of Rotorua and took off after the bank accidentally credited NZ$10 million to their account. They were accompanied by a third person, believed to be Hurring's sister Aroha, who returned to Auckland on Monday. The police, who questioned her, have not officially revealed her identity. (See: NZ couple scoots with over $2 million after bank blunder) 

Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey, who is heading the investigation, says the sister told them Hurring is still in Hong Kong, but she is not sure where Leo Gao has gone. "I urge them to return to New Zealand with the outstanding sum," Harvey said.

Police would not comment this afternoon, but at their last press conference they made it pretty clear they are not impressed by the fuss being made about the accidental millionaires. "The curiosity of the media has been an interesting bubble to be on," Sergeant Harvey said.

Often when people go missing, police use the media to help track them down, this time Harvey does not appear to want the media's help to track down the pair. Quite a few days passed before New Zealand police even confirmed the names of the people involved.

Today, for the first time, a photograph of Hurring appeared in the papers in New Zealand. The police are also preparing to ask the Chinese government for help.

ABC Online quoted a senior private investigator as saying the couple's days on the run are numbered. "They have taken an opportunity, but they weren't prepared for it. They've called home, they've done everything wrong," he said.

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Westpac duo's days are numbered, say authorities