Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Crafty fake yuan flooding Shanghai

AP , SHANGHAI

A Shanghai court has sentenced a man to 10 months in prison, reports said yesterday, as the government cracks down on a flood of fake Chinese currency good enough to trick some anti-counterfeiting machines.

Mo Qinsong (莫欽松) was convicted and sentenced for buying and passing on about 550 counterfeit 100 yuan (US$14.50) notes that he bought in southern China and brought with him to Shanghai, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily reported.

Mo was also fined 15,000 yuan.

A court official, who would not give his name because he was not allowed to speak to media, confirmed the sentence but would not discuss any details.

Mo paid only 10 yuan for each 100 yuan note he bought, the Shanghai Daily said. It said he was caught while trying to flee from a jewelry shop after he tried to buy a gold necklace using mostly fake bills.

Authorities have been struggling to catch up with a flood of such fake currency in many Chinese cities. The notes are good enough to pass through older counterfeit-cash detectors, and many in Shanghai and other cities have gotten them when making withdrawals from bank ATMs.

Last summer, a factory worker reportedly testified that he bombed a bus in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou because he was angry about, among other indignities, finding that 500 yuan of the 600 yuan he had withdrawn from an automatic teller machine was fake.

Police have nabbed counterfeiting ring suspects in several cities, the Shanghai Daily and other reports said, adding that some of the cash was being sold online.

Chinese newspapers published yesterday carried advice on how to spot the fakes, which usually have a serial number beginning with HD90. Among the pointers, they said that metal strips on the fake bills were often broken rather than whole.

Shanghai finished upgrading counterfeit note detectors at its local commercial banks in October, said the reports, which advised businesses to do the same.

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