Money talks (with a little help from gasoline)


I’ve heard of having difficulty in making a withdrawal from your bank, but this isn’t the normally recommended way of resolving them.  (A tip o’ the hat to Andrew in Australia for sending me the link.)

A man who held up a bank to withdraw his own money has been hailed as a hero by Lebanese furious at being prevented from accessing their savings amid a financial collapse.

Abdallah Assaii is accused of holding seven staff hostage at a bank in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley last week, dousing them in petrol and threatening to set them alight unless they gave him $US50,000 cash from his account.

Lebanese banks introduced informal capital controls to restrict withdrawals in late 2019 to prevent bank runs. Since then, depositors with US dollar accounts have only been able to withdraw small amounts in Lebanese pounds at an exchange rate far below market value.

With 80 per cent of the population without at least one essential service such as public utilities or health care, many Lebanese excused Assaii, with members of his community saying the 37-year-old needed money to pay for stock at his cafe after a robbery.

“Abdallah managed to do what nobody could do in all of Lebanon,” said an NGO worker from Assaii’s home town. “He didn’t steal the money. It was his.” Many Lebanese say the country’s leaders are to blame for the worsening economic situation.

. . .

Assaii reportedly apologised to the staff he took hostage after he surrendered to police.

While he was arrested, in the confusion he was reportedly able to pass the money to his wife, who remains at large.

There’s more at the link.

I wouldn’t try that trick at a Texas bank.  Too many of the customers – and probably of the bank staff, too – would be armed!



  1. To be fair, if the bank was stopping the customers from withdrawing money those guns would be pointed at the bank staff.

  2. I think it's only a matter of time until that starts happening here. We've already had a few prominent Conservative commentators banned from places like PayPal; banks might not be far behind.

  3. Reminds me of an old Gunsmoke episode I saw recently. The people "robbing" the bank just wanted their own money, which the owner of the bank was refusing to give to them. Don't recall all the details, but I think Matt Dillon managed to avoid killing them.


  4. One of the problems with attempting that here in the US is that most bank branches don't have much cash on hand. You would think with all the money printed that they would be awash in folding green, but not so much.
    Ask for a few thousand to buy a vehicle, and you get an interrogation by multiple bank personnel, and you may have to come back later, or the next day, as they may have to put in an order for cash from their distributor. It looks very much like a JIT business, and any abnormal demand for product (cash in this case) throws a monkey wrench into the works.

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