People who attempt to pass off copies of the Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers as genuine would be treated as if they had counterfeited cash, police said yesterday.
The advice was issued after a man surnamed Hung (洪) allegedly attempted to use copies of the vouchers to pay for a steak dinner in Kaohsiung on Friday, the first day of the Quintuple Stimulus Voucher program.
The 24-year-old was taken into custody and questioned by police after a steakhouse in Fongshan District (鳳山) said that a voucher Hung handed over had a rough texture.
Police officers and restaurant staff examined the voucher and said it was a color copy.
Police said that Hung told them that he picked up his NT$5,000 of vouchers at about midday on Friday and had the idea to copy them when he passed a store offering printing services.
He entered the store and copied each voucher to produce another set, police quoted him as saying.
Hung told police that he took his younger brother to have a steak dinner and wanted to “stretch the value” of the vouchers, as they are workers from a low-income family.
Hung faces charges over contraventions of the Criminal Code’s Article 201 — “a person who counterfeits or alters a government bond, stock certificate, or another security with the intention to circulate” — police said, adding that he faces a prison term of three to 10 years and a fine of up to NT$900,000.
Separately yesterday, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said it is illegal to sell the vouchers.
Media reports said that people were waiting outside convenience stores, where physical vouchers can be collected, and offering to buy them for NT$4,500.
“The stimulus vouchers are to encourage consumer spending to revitalize the economy, and must not become tools for personal profit,” Lo said.
“The program prohibits selling the vouchers and those who breach the terms will be prosecuted,” he said.
Ministry of Economic Affairs regulations state that the vouchers must not be transferred or sold, and stores cannot exchange them for cash, Lo said, adding that in serious cases, businesses or individuals would have their right to use the vouchers revoked.
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