People threw a total of 48.5 million won ($45,000) worth of coins last year into Palseokdam, an artificial pond in Cheonggye Stream.
It is the largest sum since the restored stream in downtown Seoul was opened to the public in 2005. It is 51.3 percent higher than the previous record of 32.05 million won in 2011. The number of foreign coins thrown in 2012 was 51,092, a 121.8 percent increase from 23,033 in 2011.
In 2005, 3.58 million won worth of coins were piled on the sculpture within two months of the opening. In 2006, 14.75 million won was collected from the pond. The figure then plummeted to 1.38 million won in 2007 due to a weakened interest, but bounced past 4 million in 2008, affected by the target drawn on the pit. But its effect was short-lived. The coins thrown in 2009 totaled a meager 3.43 million won.
|Officials from the Korean Committee for UNICEF, a committee to manage palseokdam coins, Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corp. and Community Chest of Korea throw coins into palseokdam during a coin donation ceremony in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)|
The following year, Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corp., which manages the stream, decorated the coin pond with a granite sculpture and added LED illumination to induce more people to throw coins both day and night. As a result, the coins thrown in 2010 increased to 9.51 million won.
The money collected was been used to help underprivileged neighbors in the name of Seoul citizens. On Tuesday, the corporation gave 41.56 million won in Korean coins and 42,042 foreign coins, thrown from April to December last year, to the Seoul chapter of the Community Chest of Korea and the Korean Committee for UNICEF, respectively.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org