Two men have been arrested after being found with US$490 million (HK$3.8 billion) in fake US Federal Reserve Treasury bonds printed with the words 'United Staes', police said. It was the biggest haul of its kind in Hong Kong, police announced yesterday. A 77-year-old Australian and a 58-year-old Briton, who were allegedly trying to con an investment bank with the bonds, were arrested on Tuesday in a sting involving an undercover policeman posing as a bank employee. Superintendent Armond Chan Yiu-kwok of the Commercial Crime Bureau said: 'Forty-nine fake US bonds were seized in the operation and the denomination of each fake bond was US$10 million. 'Such large-denomination bonds are not circulated in the market but used only for bank-to-bank deals. The usual denomination of bonds in the market is US$1 million.' The alleged plot was discovered after the Australian, claiming to be an international fund manager, phoned JP Morgan in Central on Monday saying he wanted to open a bank account with US bonds, police said. He claimed the bonds were issued in the 1930s and had been lost in a plane crash during World War II. They were later reclaimed by a church in the United States, he said. The man visited the bank in Exchange Square on the same day as his call and arranged a meeting with staff for Tuesday. An undercover operation was mounted after a bank employee felt suspicious and contacted police. On Tuesday, two men turned up at the bank. 'During the meeting, they told our undercover officer that they wanted to discount the bonds to the bank at a rate of 60 per cent and get credit,' Chief Inspector John Chan Man-yiu said. 'They claimed they had $50 billion in US bonds and used it for charity purposes such as building schools and hospitals.' The two suspects were arrested when they presented fake US bonds to the undercover officers, police said. Officers had seized 15 fake bonds from them. In follow-up investigations, officers went to the Guangdong Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui where the men had checked in the previous week. A further 34 forged bonds were found in one of their two rooms. A laptop computer and other documents were also seized. Chief Inspector Chan said 'United States' was misspelled on the bonds as 'United Staes' and they also referred to the non-existent 'Ministry of Finance of USA'. He said the printing technology used for genuine US bonds was different. The two men were being questioned at police headquarters in Wan Chai last night.