Counterfeit 2003 series HSBC HK$1,000 banknotes have re-emerged in Hong Kong, using upgraded technology that make them more similar to the real notes, Apple Daily reported Friday, citing police.
Cheng Ka-wai, chief inspector in the commercial crime department, was quoted as saying a bank employee spotted one of the new fakes, and the bank sent it to police for investigation.
On the fake notes, the date in Arabic numerals and Chinese characters at the bottom of the bill have been changed from “2008″ to “2009″.
The fake currency is hard to identify using ordinary ultraviolet light scanners, as the fluorescent barcode is more striking and brilliant than in the real notes, Cheng said.
From December 2013 to the end of September last year, Hong Kong police seized 252 counterfeit HSBC HK$1,000 banknotes of the 2003 series and arrested 12 suspects.
It is believed that the new fakes are from the same batch, the report said.
As most retailers no longer accept HK$1,000 notes printed in 2008, it is possible the counterfeiters altered the printing date and enhanced the barcode to upgrade them, the newspaper said.
The authorities said it’s possible that the criminals initially introduced a small number of upgraded fakes to test the water and see how banks and retailers respond, waiting to issue more in bulk if the scam proved successful.
Police called for residents to seek assistance from banks if they doubt the genuineness of banknotes they hold, or call the police hotline at 28605012 for help.
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