Aug 24, 2006 at 09:17am IST

Goats swallow $12,500 in China

Beijing: A village cashier in west China buried public money worth 100,000 Yuan ($12,500) in the sheep pen but was shocked to find the money in the goats' stomach instead.

Zhang and his wife, in Linjiawan village in China's Shannxi province, were stunned by the scene of 10 goats merrily chewing the money, with cash fragments left unearthed by the goats last May, the Xi'an Daily reported.

The couple slaughtered the goats and anxiously put together the cash debris taken out from the animals' stomachs and thus saved 297 pieces of notes worthy of 100 Yuan ($12.5) each, said the newspaper.

MINTING MONEY: Zhang and his wife were stunned to see 10 goats merrily chewing the money.

"We are considering exchanging more damaged notes for Zhang and will treat it as a special case after reporting the incident to superiors," director of the currency issuance section of the People's Bank of China, Hengshan county branch, Shannxi, Li Shengyang said.

The public money Zhang concealed underground in the sheep pen was paid by the Government to individuals as compensation from a state project- transporting the natural gas from the west to the east that passes through the Linjiawan village and occupied some village fields.

Zhang, the cashier, put the cash to be delivered to fellow villagers into plastic bags and secretly stored them underground to keep thieves away.

"Strictly speaking, due to severe damage to the cash, we can't retrieve all the money, but we have reported the case to the authority concerned and will try our best to save the spoiled cash," director of the rural credit bank in Jingbian county, Liu Zhanlian said.

With the help of his relatives and friends, Zhang has now raised 100,000 Yuan and has paid them back to the village committee in batches.

Zhang is now awaiting the bank's reply about how much he can get back.