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Hong Kong & India Concerned Over Rise In Counterfeit Currency

Cheng Ka-Wai with counterfeit Hong Kong currencyA rise in the circulation of fake currency in Hong Kong and India has now become a serious concern for the authorities.

Police in Hong Kong have issued warnings to the public that counterfeit currency in small denominations is increasing in circulation. The warning stated that the number of fake HK$100 notes has gone up in the first nine months of 2016 by more than four times when compared to the same period in 2015. There were reportedly 221 fake notes seized during 2015 and so far in 2016, the authorities have seized 923 notes. The authorities say that these notes were of low quality and were most likely printed at home using ink jet printers on A4 size paper.

An expert in counterfeit money, Chief Inspector Tommy Cheng Ka-wai, working with the commercial crime bureau said that the notes were of such poor quality that the public should be able to spot them on sight. He said that the counterfeiters were adopting low profile methods to ease the money into circulation.

In a statement, Cheng said,

The fake bills were printed on normal A4 paper. Swindlers scrunched them up so that people could not feel the smooth surface. Instead of a huge production, the conmen made the fakes piece by piece and slowly circulated them in the market to avoid causing suspiciousness.

The fake currency lack the distinctive embossed feel as well as inbuilt security features that is incorporated in every note. Simple silver marks were applied to the notes to mimic the holographic security thread on real currency notes while HK$100 notes did not turn gold and green at different angles.

Cheng said that almost 70 percent of the HK$100 notes seized had been in June and September. They had been reported either by banks or members of public. Authorities have also seized an increased number of lower denomination fake currencies. Around 220 fake HK$50 notes and 91 fake HK$20 notes were seized in the first nine months of this year.

Counterfeit currency of large denominations has however seen a decline. Fake HK$1,000 notes went down by 73 per cent while HK$500 went down by 52 percent. Cheng has asked the members of the public to scrutinize all notes carefully under a light to spot fakes.

Similarly the Reserve Bank of India which is the central bank has appealed to public to be careful of counterfeit notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations. The RBI said that fake notes can be spotted easily on close inspection and has asked the members of the public to pay close attention to all notes of high denominations before using them. Details on the security features are available at the RBI website.

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