Vendors warned over surge in fake $100 notes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 August, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 August, 2001, 12:00am

Street vendors were alerted yesterday after a surge in the number of fake $100 notes and $10 coins in circulation.

Tang Yup-ming, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Newspaper Hawkers' Association, said the number of the fake notes received by newspaper sellers across the territory had risen sharply this month.

'Although we haven't counted how many fake $100 bills we have received this month, the number is obviously much higher than usual,' Mr Tang said.

They were of such a good quality that experienced sellers could not always tell the difference, he said.

'The fake $100 bills have most of the identifying features of genuine ones, including the metal line and watermark,' Mr Tang said.

'If you place the fake notes beside the real ones, you can see subtle differences, but when we are busy with our business, we can't easily discover them.'

The association issued warnings to its members, urging them to be careful when receiving $100 notes.

Stalls in Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui, which do the most business, had been the worst hit, Mr Tang said.

Police have also reported a sharp increase in the number of fake $10 coins in the first half of the year.

Officers discovered more than 130,000 of the fakes, more than double the figure over the same period last year.

Officers found 60 counterfeit $10 coins in the rucksack of a 39-year old man upon his return from Shenzhen yesterday. On July 24, a 35-year-old man was arrested by Customs officers at Lowu for attempting to bring four counterfeit $100 banknotes into the territory.

Police suspect the counterfeit money was made in factories across the border.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, Yu Pang-chun, said he was worried about the increasing number of fakes.

'In the past, most fake banknotes were $1,000 notes,' Mr Yu said.

'Shopkeepers were more alert when receiving such large-value notes and the chance of being cheated is therefore not great.

'But with $100 or $10, people will be less careful and won't give so much attention to checking what they receive.'