Fake HK$100 notes seized in raid on 'factory'
Twice as many counterfeit HK$100 banknotes have been seized this year, compared with the same period last year.
Most of them were made in Hong Kong, police believe, after arresting two suspected syndicate members.
Police seized 568 fake notes in the first five months of this year, compared with 273 in the same period last year and 625 over the entire year.
'The colour fades when you rub the [counterfeit] notes, and the fakes contain no security features,' Superintendent Ravy Fong Kwok-wah of the commercial crime bureau said.
Bureau officers arrested a 36-year-old man at lunchtime on Tuesday at a stall in the Java Road Market in North Point. The suspect bought vegetables using a counterfeit HK$100 note, and four more fakes were found on him.
On the same day, officers stormed a home used as a counterfeit-money factory in Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po. They arrested a 32-year-old man and seized 36 fake HK$100 notes, more than 2,000 unfinished banknotes and two inkjet printers.
The two Hongkongers, who were being held for questioning, were core members of a counterfeiting syndicate that had been operating for about six months, police said.
All the bogus banknotes had been copied from two genuine HSBC-issued HK$100 notes that had been scanned into a computer, police said.
'Our surveillance showed that the counterfeiters mainly targeted elderly stallholders in meat, vegetable or fish shops,' Fong said. 'They approached the shops at peak hours when the shop owners or employees were busy and had no time to double-check the cash.'
Chief Inspector Cheng Ka-wai, the bureau's counterfeit expert, said the fakes could easily be distinguished if you took a few seconds to look at them, since they were missing security features such as watermarks and embossed figures.