Apology over 'fake'
By WANDA SZETO and JOHN FLINT
POLICE and a department store yesterday apologised to an elderly woman wrongly accused of using a fake $1,000 note.
The 69-year-old woman was whisked away for questioning after presenting the note to buy $700 worth of clothes at the Wing On store in Mongkok on Sunday.
She was released on $500 bail the same evening, but police later found the note to be genuine and have apologised.
Wing On also promised to improve staff training on identifying counterfeit notes.
But the store has refused to admit any misjudgment in its handling of the case, following a spate of fake $1,000 Standard Chartered Bank notes which have recently shown up in Hong Kong and Macau.
Wing On spokesman Ava Lau Ka-lai said: 'To a certain extent, we are also a victim. This situation has embarrassed us.' Chief Superintendent Richard Best, who examined the 'suspicious note', said the store's judgment had been made in good faith.
He said the bill featured a letter 'A' on its numeric serial code and the release date of January 1993, a feature consistent with confiscated counterfeit notes.
The bank yesterday revealed 30 fake $1,000 notes had been intercepted in the past fortnight. It is believed the notes, passed on to the Commercial Crime Bureau, may belong to the same sophisticated batch.
A bank spokesman said they had no idea how many were in circulation but he urged the public to be vigilant.
Key indicators people should look out for are: On an authentic note, the words 'by order of the court of directors' are followed by a full stop, whereas they are followed by a comma on the fake; The bauhinia designs, on both sides of the note, do not line up on the counterfeit notes when held up against the light; and The fake notes do not have the raised 'One Thousand Dollars' print.