Rotorua's 'runaway millionaires' case set to become a film

Ricardo Simich. ,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 1 December 2018, 10:43AM
Jess Sayer will play Kara Hurring. Photo / Supplied
Jess Sayer will play Kara Hurring. Photo / Supplied
Auckward Love star Jess Sayer will play infamous Rotorua woman Kara Hurring in Runaway Millionaires, the tele-feature of the true story that made headlines across the globe.

In 2009, Westpac accidentally deposited $10m in the bank account of Hurring’s partner, petrol station owner Leo Gao. Rather than alert the bank, the pair fled the country for a new life in China.

For two years the hunt for New Zealand’s most wanted couple gripped the nation and the world. Sayer, who is also a successful writer of local television drama, including Shortland Street and Filthy Rich, said there was something special about being part of telling a true story.

Filming is under way and Sayer has worked closely with Hurring to nail the part, recently dying her hair to match Hurring’s flaming locks.

“I’ve felt it since my first audition. Kara’s done a huge thing — sharing her story with us — and it’s been an honour working with this team to bring it to life.”

Hurring and Gao struggled to keep up their lifestyle on the run. The story is set against a backdrop of five-star hotels and the back alleys of mainland China.

As police closed in — and drained the offshore bank accounts — Gao took the remaining money and fled. Hurring was left alone with her 6-year-old, penniless and on the run.

Gao is played by Sydney-based actor George Zhao. The cast also includes Bree Peters (Shortland Street), Roz Turnbull (Outrageous Fortune) and Joel Tobeck as Detective Inspector Mark Loper.

The movie, by Fearless Productions, is shooting in Auckland and Rotorua. It is expected to screen next year.

Meanwhile, Sayer couldn't be drawn on the question we all asked ourselves in the aftermath of the case — what would you do if milions of dollars landed in your account?