A props company owner and a short-film producer were given suspended jail sentences after they were found guilty of possessing around 11000 “counterfeit” banknotes.
According to a magistrate, the prop money was considered counterfeit because ordinary people cannot tell the difference without close examination, even though the notes were produced with the offset printing technique and lacked security features found in real notes.
The prop money was used in a number of movies, including the crime thriller Trivisa, which has won multiple awards, including best film from Hong Kong Film Awards and Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award.
The pair was sentenced to four months in jail, but suspended for two years, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers criticized the verdict, saying it is “unprecedented” and “causing international furore”.
Production or prop companies have to apply for permission from Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) before using prop money, according to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.
Over the past ten years, 641 applications were filed with the HKMA. Of those, 546 of them were approved and 15 were denied, while 80 applications were withdrawn, according to the Authority. After the production, the prop money needs to be handed to the police and destroyed.
Besides, the props have to comply with some rules set out by HKMA, including requirements like the size of prop money to be bigger or smaller by 20 percent from the real notes, and carrying a clearly visible prop label.
– Contact us at [email protected]