Recall of tainted HK$1,000 banknotes 'prudent' after more fakes surface: banker

Andrew Fung Hau-chung, head of global banking and markets at the Hang Seng Bank, says he would recall HK$1,000 notes copied by counterfeiters if 'technically possible'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 1:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 7:03pm

A senior Hang Seng Bank executive said a recall of tainted 2003 series HK$1,000 banknotes is “good” and “prudent” as a fresh discovery of fraudulent dollar bills surfaced.

Hong Kong police said two more HK$1,000 counterfeit notes that were copies of the 2003 series issued by the Bank of China were found on Wednesday.

It takes the total number of fake notes found in circulation in Hong Kong to 107 since the start of the Christmas holidays, with 62 affected notes from the Bank of China and 45 from HSBC, all from the 2003 series. More than 150 dodgy notes have surfaced in Macau.

Andrew Fung Hau-chung, head of global banking and markets at the bank, said he would replace the affected series with the latest 2010 series that offered enhanced security measures. He did not think quality of the spate of fake notes was “that great”.

Asked if he supported the recall of 2003 series HK$1,000 banknotes, the Hang Seng bank executive said: “It’s a prudent decision and overall it is good for citizens and obviously there has been confusion for the last few days.” However, he added: “But it is a decision the HKMA has to reach with note-issuing banks. If it’s fine technically, basically I think its ok.”

He was sceptical as to whether there was a loss of trust in Hong Kong’s highest denominated banknote, however, he did suggest it was because he trusted them more than most consumers.

“As there is some confusion, if it’s technically possible, it’s good to recall it and issue the new edition which is technically much more difficult to replicate,” added Fung. “I think as long as the note-issuing bank and government reach consensus, as a citizen I welcome that.”

Fung outlined his position as he unveiled the world’s largest coin earlier today, on its first visit outside Australia, at the Hang Seng Bank headquarters in Central as part of a showcase tour for the historic Perth Mint.