The bogus bills, passed on to a news hawker, are poor quality HSBC yesterday disclosed that it had discovered counterfeits of its newly designed $100 banknote. The admission came after a newspaper stall owner found two bogus notes of the new $100 design on Monday and reported them to the police. It is understood there have been other cases of police seizing counterfeit new banknotes but these have not been publicised. It was not clear last night how many of the fake notes have been seized so far. The news hawker, 45, told officers that he was given the fake notes by his customers. The new $100 banknotes - issued along with $500 notes in a new series in December - have seven new security features. The fake bank banknotes are believed to be of poor quality, easily identifiable and probably from the same source. The cases are now being investigated by detectives from the Commercial Crime Bureau's Counterfeit and Forgery Division. An HSBC spokeswoman admitted it had recently found counterfeit $100 banknotes but in a small quantity. She declined to say exactly how many. 'We have handed over all the bogus notes to the Commercial Crime Bureau for investigation,' she said. She said people should contact banks or the police if they come across suspected fake notes. Yesterday, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority expressed concern over counterfeiting of the banknotes, introduced with much fanfare because of their extra security features. 'The counterfeit notes [discovered by the news vendor] are ink-jet print of poor quality and are easily distinguishable from genuine banknotes,' an authority spokesman said. He said the security features of the new series of Hong Kong banknotes met the latest international standards. He said the total value of all fake notes discovered in the first three months of this year was small compared with total genuine banknotes currently in circulation in Hong Kong - about 0.0018 per cent of the total. A police spokesman said the number of fake banknotes dropped from 19,133 in 2002 to 13,887 last year. The number of fake $100 banknotes seized fell from 14,041 in 2002 to 10,231 in 2003. There were 573 bogus $1,000 notes and 105 fake $500 notes in 2002, compared with 321 fake $1,000 notes and 162 fake $500 notes last year. Earlier this month, more than 400 fake $500 banknotes were discovered in deposit-only machines in four different HSBC branches in Causeway Bay, Mongkok and Yuen Long. More than 10 people have been arrested. It was not clear how many of the fake notes were of the new design. The discovery forced the shut-down of 169 HSBC deposit-only machines and 93 machines from sister bank Hang Sang Bank over the Easter break.