In the movie The Dark Knight, after Joker captures Lao from the Jail and brings him back, he gets his share of money. Then he burns it? Why did he burn the money? If you say Joker is a Psychopath and "he just want to see it burn", that can be accepted. Joker is a Psychopath, but the people working for him are not right? Why would they allow Joker to burn so much money. They would just hit him and run with the money.

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    it's an answer to a different question, but this answer might address your question. In short the Joker says so himself, "It's not about the money, its about sending a message" and apparently the people who work for him that might otherwise be able to "hit him and run with the money" are also more interested in sending a message instead of personal monetary gain.
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 5:45
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    @AJ No. Its not the duplicate. I think the title is misleading. The question you linked asks why Joker burned money. I'm nore concerned about how others let him burn the money. Why wouldn't his servants just kill him and take the money? Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 5:57
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    The guy kills untouchably powerful vicious men for kicks and fun, and you're (if you are one of his underling henchmen) going to grab handfuls of his money and run? Wouldn't the entire point of taking the money be undercut if you are dead and cut into tiny pieces, and therefore unable to spend it? Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 19:41
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    I think the point was; with a pile of cash that high sitting in front of you, couldn't you just snuff Joker with your shotgun and walk away with enough money to buy a small island? My answer explained why you wouldn't bring the bounty hunters with you for that particular job. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 22:08
  • @AJ Seems to ask a completely different question, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 22:54

2 Answers 2


From the Wiki (of course we all know Wiki's can be wrong, but we'll assume they're close to the truth):

The Joker's Thugs were a gang of criminals, in part a combination of small-time robbers, bounty hunters, shanghaied gangsters, and mentally-ill escapees of Arkham Asylum, who served under the Joker. Because of the Joker's appearance, most of the thugs wore clown masks and similar apparel.

Now, that same page also lays out the scene in question:

Ending the Chechen's Regime

The Chechen met the Joker on a Container Ship with his thugs and rottweilers. The Joker burned his half of an immense mound of US dollars, which happened to be holding the mobsters' half on top of it, and betrayed the Chechen by having his own men join him, and possibly execute their former boss; also possibly involving cutting him up into tiny pieces and feeding them to his beloved rottweilers. There are only four thugs.

IIRC, it's accurate to say there were only 4 thugs present. So, Joker most likely picked 4 mentally ill, least money-driven guys to accompany him on that job. They want Anarchy, not money. Maybe they were pyro's. Maybe they were mass murderers. Who knows. But Joker would have selected them because they'd be least likely to want what he was about to burn.

  • Plus, it's not like the Joker couldn't pay his henchmen whatever he needed to, as operating expenses, and then burn the rest, right? Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 19:42
  • Well, that opens up the Pandora's Box of, "What if they wanted more money?" And then, "How much is enough?" Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 20:02
  • I thought the implication in the question was more of a criminal taking exception to his normal cut being destroyed, as well. Paying the henchmen is pretty standard for criminal bosses. Crooks generally don't work for free, so "more" is not an issue, if they are paid what they were promised. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 20:30

His extreme flamboyance "sending his [typical] message".

The Joker was another extreme character in Gotham where everything is already exaggerated especially the Batman.

The Joker doesn't just rob a bank, he robs it and serially kills his accomplices and leaves them at the scene.

The Joker sends death threats pinned to the chest of two corpses whose last names equal the threatened (Harvey Dent).

Killing a money laundering rat like Lao by burning him with the very same money he helped crime lords abscond with is the minimum required atrocity by an extreme villain with a violent reputation.

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    So basically you're saying that no-one stopped him because they were all scared of him...right!? Otherwise you're answering "Why did he burn it"...not "Why did no-one stop him!.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 11:44

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