Bank of China (Hong Kong), (BOCHK, 02388.HK), one of the three banks authorized to print currency notes for Hong Kong, has warned that counterfeit HK$50 banknotes may have been in circulation in the city recently.
If anyone finds suspicious-looking banknotes, the matter should be brought to the attention of banks or the police, BOCHK said on Monday.
The alert came after photos of fake BOCHK banknotes were posted online Monday by some local store owners, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
The photos showed that the HK$50 banknotes all bore a common serial number — CN485659.
Following the online chatter, at least one store owner is said to have instructed his employees to reject any BOCHK HK$50 banknote bearing a serial number that ends with 659.
One could tell from the photos that the fake banknotes had poor printing quality.
A close examination revealed that the banknotes counterfeited the 2003 version of HK$50 banknotes issued by BOCHK, but they failed to match the security designs of authentic ones, the report said.
The police’s commercial crime bureau has launched an investigation into the matter, according to BOCHK.
Between 2013 and 2015, Hong Kong authorities are said to have seized a total of 1,022 fake HK$50 banknotes. In the first quarter this year, an additional 22 counterfeit notes were found.
Fake banknotes seized in the past were mainly printed outside Hong Kong, though a small number may have been produced here, the police have said.
The fake banknotes tend to get passed on in street shops, convenience stores and supermarkets.
Urging the public to be alert, the police said theywill keep working with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to crack down on currency counterfeiters.
[Security features of Hong Kong's currency notes]
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