Things curious and crazy that go lost

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Things curious and crazy that go lost

Jewelry, dentures - and a pet snake.

These are among the sundry items that subway passengers have left behind and end up in the lost and found at Seoul Metro, the public corporation that runs subway lines 1 through 4.

As for that snake, workers found a black shopping bag left behind in a subway car last October and brought it to the lost and found office. They were shocked when they opened the bag and found a thick, white snake, about 60 centimeters (2 feet) long, species unknown.

“A lost dog or a cat gets in from time to time but I’ve never experienced a lost snake,” Lee Jo-won, a sales management team leader, said on Friday.

The snake was owned by a 15-year-old boy from Gyeonggi, who was planning to sell it to someone in Seoul.

Seoul Metro statistics show that people are apparently getting more forgetful. A total of 41,310 items were left behind last year, 5,000 more than the previous year.

For 10 straight years, the most frequently lost items have been backpacks and fancy designer bags. A total of 8,985 bags were registered in the subway’s lost and found facility last year. That accounts for 21.8 percent of all items.

Electronics such as mobile phones or MP3 players ranked second at 8,770 items, followed by jackets and coats at 4,187 items.

About 264 million won ($236,000) in cash was also left on the subways last year, but 92.9 percent of it was claimed, the highest rate ever recorded. Seoul Metro said 70 percent of all lost items were claimed last year.

If owners do not show up to claim cash or jewelry within 18 months, they go to the national treasury. All other items are donated to social welfare organizations.


By Chang Chung-hoon [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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