HONEST: Mr Tony Wang (left) being given a token of appreciation by Mr Mohamed Rafeeq for his good deed.

Money changer rewards student for returning $30,000

He rewards student for returning money his employee had left in handicapped toilet

In just two hours, money changer Mohamed Rafeeq went from panic and despair - to relief and gratitude.

And for this turnabout, Mr Rafeeq has polytechnic student Tony Wang, 22, to thank.

Mr Rafeeq's employee had lost $30,000 in cash and the 50-year-old was worried he would never see the money again.

He later found out that Mr Wang had picked up the envelope containing bundles of $1,000 notes and handed it to the police.

"I am left speechless by how honest he is," the owner of Clifford Gems & Money Exchange at Raffles City told The New Paper.

This happened two weeks ago.

That Dec 29 afternoon, Mr Rafeeq's 73-year-old employee had absent-mindedly left the envelope of cash in a public toilet for the handicapped.

"He told me he went back to the toilet within 15 minutes, but the envelope of money was no longer there.

"It's big money. How can I not panic?

"I chided him for leaving the envelope around like that. Our training rules state that money must be kept safely, and we must be very careful," said Mr Rafeeq, who is also the secretary of the Money Changers Association in Singapore.

The pair rushed to lodge a police report at the Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC).

Within two hours of lodging the report, Mr Rafeeq received a call from Toa Payoh NPC.

A wave of relief swept over him.

"The police told me someone found the money. They were very helpful. The inspector at Toa Payoh even comforted me and told me not to worry," Mr Rafeeq said.

Through the police, the money changer managed to get in touch with Mr Wang, a Chinese national who came to Singapore in 2005 to study..


The final year marine and offshore engineering student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic had chanced upon the envelope when he entered the toilet shortly after Mr Rafeeq's employee left.

"When I saw the wad of $1,000 notes, I freaked out," said Mr Wang. "I have never seen so much money. My heart beat very fast while I carried the money with me. It's a huge responsibility."

At Mr Rafeeq's request, Mr Wang visited the money changer at his Raffles City shop a day after the incident. There, Mr Rafeeq gave Mr Wang $500 as a token of appreciation.

Mr Wang, who lives with his parents in his uncle's four-room flat in Toa Payoh, was shocked by the gesture.

"To be honest, $500 is a lot of money to me. Even though he's really appreciative, I felt he didn't have to give me so much money. I don't need that money.

"I just wanted the money to find its way back to its owner safe and sound."

Mr Wang was initially reluctant to accept the $500.

Said Mr Rafeeq: "I had to force him to take the money. I told him the money is something from my heart and I asked him to spend it on his education needs.

"He came back within 10 minutes and tried to return the money to me again.

"He is a really kind and sincere boy. I really appreciate what he has done."

Till today, the $500 is still sitting in Mr Wang's drawer, untouched.

"I don't have anything I need to spend on, so I just kept his token of goodwill," he said.

It's big money. How can I not panic?

- Money changer Mohamed Rafeeq, on discovering that his employee had left $30,000 in cash in a public toilet