5 men held, fake notes seized in raid on syndicate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 2003, 12:00am

Five men suspected of being members of a syndicate involved in printing counterfeit money and forging documents have been arrested in a raid on a Shamshuipo flat.

Police said the mastermind of the syndicate, believed to have triad links, evaded arrest. Regional crime unit officers have mounted a manhunt for him.

Detective Chief Inspector Wong Kwok-kit said the raid on Wednesday night was launched after intensive investigations into the syndicate, which is believed to have been operating for about a year.

Inspector Wong said 69 $500 counterfeit Bank of China bank notes and one HSBC $1,000 bank note were among some of the items seized from the flat in Boundary Street.

But police believe none of the counterfeit notes had been circulated in Hong Kong and that the quality was reasonably poor and easy to recognise.

A number of reproduced bank statements were found. They were stolen from letter boxes to be used for credit card and loans applications.

Police also found four reproduced civil servant identity cards believed to be used for 'quicker and higher-amount' loans.

A set of computers and printers believed to have been used to print the fake banknotes, and a small quantity of the designer drug Ice, were also seized.

Inspector Wong said the reproduced fake bank statements used for credit card applications could have caused banks to have lost about $5 million during the past year.