Date
16 January 2017
Spot the difference: 10-pataca notes and HK$100 bills are different in design and size, but they have the same color. Photo: Internet
Spot the difference: 10-pataca notes and HK$100 bills are different in design and size, but they have the same color. Photo: Internet

Mind your change: 10-pataca swindlers are back!

The pataca bandits appear to be back in business.

An online message that has gone viral on social media warns Hong Kong consumers to watch out for 10-pataca banknotes being passed off by some unscrupulous shopkeepers as HK$100 notes.

Similar cases were reported in 2013 and 2014.

According to the message, one buyer gave a HK$500 note to a shopkeeper for goods worth less than HK$100, only to find out later that a 10-pataca note was included in the change, Sky Post reported Thursday. 

Ten patacas is worth about HK$10 or US$1.25, while HK$100 is equivalent to US$12.9.

A 10-pataca note issued by the Bank of China in Macau in 2008 is a bit smaller, but has the same red color as a HK$100 bill. As such, it can easily be mistaken for a HK$100 bill when mixed with Hong Kong notes.

According to Bank of China (Hong Kong), a 10-pataca note is 138 millimeters by 69 mm in size, while a HK$100 bill is 154 mm x 77 mm. The two bear different designs.

Back in 2013, Apple Daily reported that swindlers tried to use 10-pataca notes as HK$100 bills for the items they bought.

When caught, they would simply apologize for the “mistake” and get away with it.

Albert Luk Wai-hung, a well-known barrister, said those who intentionally pass off a 10-pataca note as a HK$100 bill could face up to 10 years in jail for the offense of obtaining property by deception.

Chan Yung-chin, director of Mega supermarket chain, said he had heard about the scheme and alerted his staff, even though no such case has ever happened in his stores.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it has not received any query from citizens about the mix-up over the last three years. It said the two notes can be easily differentiated if people pay more attention.

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TL/JP/CG

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