Hong Kong police seize HK$9,100 in bogus bills during raid on counterfeit workshop operating out of Kowloon hotel room

Man and woman arrested after police find 36 fake banknotes, a printer, eight packs of paper, two paper-cutting tools, two boxes of ink and seven gold-coloured powder pens

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 11:26pm

An Indian asylum seeker and his British girlfriend were arrested on Tuesday after police seized HK$9,100 (US$1,160) in fake cash during a predawn raid on a hotel room believed to be a counterfeit workshop.

The man, 26, and his girlfriend, 19, who is a Hong Kong identity card holder, were detained when officers raided the room in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, at about 3am.

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Inside the room, police found 14 counterfeit HK$500 notes, 20 fake HK$100 notes and two bogus HK$50 notes along with a small quantity of crystal meth. Officers also seized a printer, eight packs of paper, two paper-cutting tools, two boxes of ink and seven gold-coloured powder pens.

The pens were believed to be used to make security features such as a dynamic colour-changing pattern on the fake notes, said Senior Inspector Tang Kwok-hin of the Commercial Crime Bureau’s counterfeit, forgery and support division.

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He said some of the fake notes were unfinished and lacked distinct security features, such as a watermark or a metallic thread that changes colour. Some notes also lacked an embossed feel.

“The quality of the counterfeit banknotes is poor and the fakes could be distinguished,” Tang said.

He said the operation appeared to be in its early stages and police were investigating whether any fake notes entered circulation, adding that further arrests were possible.

Police were alerted to the operation after receiving information last week that a counterfeiting gang was using hotel rooms at different locations to avoid detection.

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Police also noticed fake notes were recently used to buy things at convenience stores and pay a taxi fare in the Kowloon West region. Tang said officers were investigating whether the two suspects were linked to those cases.

Tuesday’s raid was the second of its kind by police in the past six weeks. On June 12, police arrested an Indian asylum seeker and his Russian girlfriend and seized HK$4,100 in counterfeit cash at a subdivided flat in Hung Hom.