Guangdong police have smashed a series of underground banks dealing with foreign currency trading through middlemen based in Hong Kong and Macau, Xinhua reported yesterday. Japanese yen and yuan valued at about $11.7 million had been seized and about $8 million in bank deposits frozen in a joint raid led by the Guangdong Public Security Department. Preliminary investigations showed that the suspects had been operating the banks for a long time through middlemen in Hong Kong and Macau. Cash transactions and remittances were done through them. In the operation, carried out by public security officers from Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan and Shunde, 11 underground banks and 30 illegal trading outlets in residential and commercial premises were smashed and 53 suspects arrested. Apart from account books and faxed materials, a total of 1,529 foreign and domestic bankbooks were also confiscated. According to Xinhua, which quoted the head of Guangdong Public Security, director-general Liang Guoju, the illegal banks' clients were mainly mainland visitors from the Pearl River Delta and illegal private enterprises. The security bureau is still investigating whether these visitors and firms also were involved in other crimes.