An Indian man and a young British woman, believed to be the man’s girlfriend, have been arrested for suspected involvement in a counterfeit currency racket.
The pair was taken into custody after a raid on a hotel in To Kwa Wan where they were staying yielded fake banknotes and some equipment purportedly being used for a counterfeiting operation.
The police operation took place in the early hours of Tuesday, according to reports, which gave the man’s age as 26 and that of the woman as 19.
Identity checks revealed that the man was an asylum seeker who holds a so-called recognizance form, or temporary identity document, while the woman had a regular Hong Kong identity card.
A total of 36 fake Hong Kong banknotes, in HK$500, HK$100 and HK$50 denominations and amounting to a total of HK$9,100, were seized from their hotel room, RTHK reported.
Equipment that was clearly used to produce fake banknotes, including a printer, sheets of A4 paper and ink, was also found in the room.
The operation will continue, police said, not ruling out the possibility that more people could be arrested in connection with the case.
The raid came hours before the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced on Tuesday that it will release a series of newly designed banknotes with improved security features later this year.
Police data show that a total of 1,464 fake notes of different denominations were seized in the first five months of 2018, marking an increase of 80 percent from the same period last year.
Of the counterfeits, 859 pieces, or nearly six in 10, were HK$100 in denomination, representing an increase of 70 percent. But the kind that saw the biggest increase was HK$500 bill, whose number was 1.8 times more than that of a year ago, the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.
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