A New Taipei City woman has been detained for allegedly colluding with a counterfeiting ring in China that forged Japanese yen, US dollars and Deutsche marks that could fool experts, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) announced yesterday.
“This is the largest currency counterfeiting case we have cracked in recent years,” Investigation Branch head Ruan Wen-chieh (阮文杰) said.
The 67-year-old women, surnamed Chen (陳), was apprehended yesterday and is being charged with breaches of the Smuggling Penalty Act (懲治走私條例) and securities forging offenses.
A raid of Chen’s residence in New Taipei City’s Yingge District (鶯歌) last week uncovered billions in forged bills — ￥228 million (US$2.05 million), US$3 million and 4 billion Deutsche marks (US$2.3 billion).
The bust was the result of cooperation between Taiwan and Japan, Ruan said, adding that in 2017, Japanese authorities told their Taiwanese counterparts about a Taiwanese woman who had been smuggling counterfeit Japanese yen to Okinawa.
“Our agency formed a task force and has been monitoring the case for more than one-and-a-half years,” Ruan added.
“It is very rare to see such sophisticated forgery of Japanese yen bills, because of the difficulties involved. The Japanese mint uses very special materials to create the paper for their currency and they add unique coloring agents that give a slight yellowish tone to the bills,” he added.
Whenever counterfeit bills were discovered in Japan, they would send their experts to Taiwan to examine the forgeries, he said.
Chen in 2012 set up a company for the smuggling operation and took trips to China to meet with a forgery ring, and would smuggle counterfeit Japanese yen on her return flight to Taiwan, investigators said.
Chen reportedly had a sales catalogue made up for her customers and also sold the forged bills to intermediaries, who profited by selling the fake bills or spending them at stores, they said.
Investigators estimate that Chen smuggled about ￥500 million in counterfeit yen from China to Taiwan over the years, saying that she allegedly sold about half of the bills for 15 to 20 percent of their face value.
“We believe that some customers transferred the counterfeit bills to other countries in Asia, while the fake US bills and Deutsche marks were sold in Japan, as they can serve as collateral for private loans there,” Ruan said.
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