A counterfeit-note dealer was jailed for three years and one month yesterday after a judge described his trade as a 'cruel fraud'. District Court judge Chua Fi-lan jailed mobile phone salesman Wu Man-hon after he admitted possessing fake $1,000 and $100 notes. Judge Chua said the printing and colour quality of the fake notes could 'easily cheat untrained eyes', although experts said they were of poor quality. 'Only a few days ago a domestic helper was told by a bank teller that the banknotes she tried to deposit were forged. To someone who earns such a small amount of money, it was a cruel fraud,' he said. 'It is not difficult to see how many people will be defrauded if the quality of the notes is good.' Wu, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of importing counterfeit notes and another of having custody or control of counterfeit notes. Wu's common-law wife, Cheuk Chau-ngo, 33, denied a charge of having custody or control of counterfeit notes and was acquitted after the prosecution offered no evidence against her. Prosecutor Kelvin Lee Ka-yun told the court three plain-clothes police officers raided Wu's Sha Tin home in the morning of May 29. During a search they seized eight $100 notes in Wu's jacket pocket, 30 $1,000 notes in the bedroom and 100 $1,000 notes hidden on Ms Cheuk. All were counterfeit and some had overlapping serial numbers. The prosecution said the fake notes carried watermarks depicting the head of a soldier which glowed under ultra-violet light, while the marks on genuine notes remained dull under the same light. Defence lawyer Helen Chan said Wu had been in need of money for his elderly grandmother's eye operation. He agreed to import the counterfeit notes provided by a friend on the mainland for $5,000, which was never paid, the court heard. The court heard Wu brought the notes to Hong Kong from Shenzhen on the night of May 28, crossing the Lowu checkpoint. His home was raided the next day. Wu said Ms Cheuk had no knowledge of the fake notes. Judge Chua adopted five years as a starting point, but reduced it by one-third for Wu's guilty plea. She further gave a three-month discount for the assistance he gave police.