Thieves walk away with all of couple's wedding hongbao money

The joy of getting married on Valentine’s Day was short-lived for a pharmacist and his bride as a group of foreigners walked away with about RM100,000 (S$38,000) worth of hongbao money.

Mr Lim Cia Cen, 29, a pharmacist in Adelaide, Australia, and Ms Rachel Sim, held their wedding banquet at a Chinese restaurant in Sutera Mall in Johor Baru on Feb 14. 

According to Mr Lim, thieves walked away with all the hongbao money given by the guests, and he estimates the collection could be anything between RM70,000 to RM100,000. 

He said that three strangers were seen loitering outside the banquet hall. Later, the entire collection box was found to be missing. 

“They were not our guests but we did not suspect anything when they were near the entrance of the restaurant where the hongbao money was placed,” he told The Star. 

Mr Lim, who was accompanied by his businessman father, Mr Lim Sui Keng, 54, claimed that the incident happened between 6.30pm and 7.50pm.

Sneaky strangers

He said four people, including his sister, were tasked with manning the reception table. The collection box had been placed under the table.

He suspects that one of the strangers had sneaked behind the table and taken away the box while an accomplice pretended to ask his sister something.

Mr Lim's sister was then manning the table alone, as the other three people at the counter were ushering guests to their seats.

The family only realised the collection box was missing when the bride and bridegroom were walking into the hall.

“We still put on a happy face as if nothing happened but, later on, word spread among the guests about what had happened with our collection,” said the elder Mr Lim.

The family managed to print out the photos of the two suspects from photographs taken at the restaurant.

Source: The Star