Alleged boss of counterfeiting ring arrested

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am


The suspected mastermind of a cross-border banknote counterfeiting syndicate was arrested in Shenzhen and returned to Hong Kong yesterday.

The Hongkonger, 48, was returned by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau to the Hong Kong police through the Huanggang border control point. He was believed to be involved in a 2008 case involving fake notes that police have been trying to solve ever since.

In that year, police in both cities mounted a joint operation targeting the cross-border syndicate.

Two men, 35 and 38, also Hong Kong residents, were arrested in June and July of 2008 for using counterfeit banknotes to pay prostitutes and buy groceries in the city. Fifteen counterfeit notes, including HK$500 and HK$100 denominations, were seized. The two were later convicted and sentenced to 26 months and six months in jail.

The man who was returned to Hong Kong yesterday is believed to have been behind the 2008 case. He was identified recently during an investigation by the police Commercial Crime Bureau, and later arrested by Shenzhen police.

He was detained overnight for questioning.

Police confiscated 1,892 counterfeit Hong Kong banknotes last year, a 10.2 per cent increase year on year.

They included 625 HK$100 notes, a 54.7 per cent increase.

Police also seized more fake HK$1,000, HK$500 and HK$50 notes.

The bogus bills were mostly produced outside of Hong Kong with inkjet or laser printers, police said.

Saunas and taxis were among the most common venues where fake notes were passed off, police said. Mainland swindlers sometimes swapped fake notes for genuine cash from sauna patrons' lockers, or paid their taxi fares with counterfeit bills, they said.