Domestic Cleaners Chiswick 12th August 2018

Cleaning, despite its somewhat menial nature, is a sometimes thankless and virtuous job. That said, cleaners do not always go on unrewarded, as one South Korean cleaner found out on day while clearing out bins at the INchean International Airport.

The man found seven gold bars (each weighing 1kg, or 2.2lbs), which are worth a total of about 350,000,000 won, (about £240 thousand, or $330k) while cleaning out a rubbish bin in the airport. Each bar was wrapped in newspapers; police predict that the original owner hid them in a hurry to avoid the risk of being caught.

Despite this, there does not seem to be any proof that the gold is connected to criminal activity - so the cleaner should be able to make a substantial claim on the goods, right?

Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be the case - the airport that the cleaner works in has states that the cleaner will not receive any reward since they were "working as airport staff and it is part of the cleaner's job to find lost things".

If the gold had not been found by an airport employee, they would have been able to claim at least between 5-20% of the gold's total price - a maximum of 70 million won, £48,000, or $65,000. This is due to the "Finders Keepers" law that South Korea has on goods wherein the owner is ambiguous.

According to the Lost Articles Act legislation, if an owner doesn't come forward to claim ownership of the property within six months, then the ownership transfers to whoever found it. This, as previously stated, however, does not apply to employees on company property.

While some might argue that this is unfair to the airport cleaner, an alternate interpretation is that if he hadn't been working there, a different cleaner would have found it, and so on. So while it is somewhat of a cruel twist of fate, perhaps he can take comfort in knowing the gold would likely not have been his either way - what do you think?

Currently, it is unknown who will take ownership of the gold following the six months.

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