Police in Taiwan deny knowledge of yuan counterfeiting

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 January, 2009, 12:00am

Taiwanese police yesterday rejected mainland media reports that high- quality fake yuan banknotes found on the mainland had originated in Taiwan.

'We have not found any counterfeiting groups producing those fake notes ... in Taiwan through comprehensive investigation so far,' said a spokesman with the economic crime department under the National Police Agency.

His comments came after mainland media reported that Taiwan had recently cracked down on a counterfeiting ring faking the bills bearing serial numbers starting with either HD90 or HB90, said to be in wide circulation on the mainland.

All major mainland websites reported the story and blamed Taiwan for the problem.

High-resolution yuan banknotes have recently appeared in more than 12 provinces and municipalities on the mainland and have fooled many people.

Fearing social unrest, mainland authorities have responded, with the People's Bank of China, the central bank, issuing a chart to teach the public how to spot the fake notes. But so far, mainland police have not been able to identify the source of the fake notes.

A Taiwanese official acknowledged yesterday that police had raided a yuan counterfeiting ring in October, confiscating more than 135 million yuan worth of fake banknotes. But he said those notes' serial numbers did not start with HD90 or HB90.

Asked if police were aware of any fake notes flowing to the island, the spokesman said his department had not received any information so far.

Some media reports earlier said airport police had recently discovered three fake 100-yuan notes that several mainland-based Taiwanese businessmen had tried to exchange at Taoyuan International Airport.

The media said those notes were easily spotted as counterfeit and confiscated by the airport police.

Taiwan is known for producing high-quality counterfeit banknotes. Counterfeiters are widely sought by criminals for their skills and expertise, earning the island a reputation as the primary source of fake money.

Lai Shin-yuan, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, bristled yesterday when asked about the mainland media reports blaming Taiwan.

'These are merely media reports that I prefer not to comment about,' she said, adding she was sure authorities from both sides of the Taiwan Strait would do all they could to stamp out illegal activities.

She said joint efforts to crack down on cross-strait crimes was on the agenda for the third round of talks, scheduled to be held in the first half of this year on the mainland.

Ms Lai said the two sides were expected to discuss the technical issues after the Lunar New Year holidays.

But she said she did not expect the third round to take place in March because of some financial and economic issues. 'It could be sometime around May or June,' she said.