People are mocking Hong Kong’s new $100 bill for resembling “hell money”

Image: Screengrab/Taobao, Elson Tong via Twitter
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Hong Kong just gave residents a peek into its new banknotes yesterday (July 24), but one of the bill designs is already being mocked for its resemblance to “hell money,” which Chinese people burn for their deceased loved ones.

HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Bank of China spent three years working with the monetary authority to each design five new notes. In addition to preventing counterfeiting, the new bills are centered around a few themes to promote Hong Kong’s culture and sights, such as dim sum ($20 notes), the city’s Unesco Global Geopark ($500), and Cantonese opera ($100). It’s the last one that has drawn mockery.

Some people say they feel a little unnerved by Bank of China’s version of the $100 note, which features a female Cantonese opera performer, because of its likeness to paper money (link in Chinese) meant for use in the afterlife.

“The design is very scary. One should spend it right after receiving it. I don’t dare to bring it home,” wrote one on Facebook. “The design looks like a cooperation with the ghost bank,” said someone else (links in Chinese) on the social-media site.

The new bills will be put into circulation in the fourth quarter this year. The last time Hong Kong issued new designs of banknotes was in 2010.