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Hong Kong Regulator Takes Measures to Stem Counterfeit Banknotes

HK$1,000 Notes
One thousand-dollar Hong Kong banknotes pass through a currency counting machine in an arranged photograph in the Hang Seng Bank Ltd. headquarters in Hong Kong. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s banking regulator introduced more measures to stem counterfeiting after fake HK$1,000 ($129) notes were found in the city and Macau in the past two weeks.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has asked banks to provide employees with training on features of counterfeits and to ensure they have sufficient manpower for screening banknotes, according to a statement on the government’s website yesterday.

Hong Kong police have found 60 counterfeit HK$1,000 notes with the 2003 Bank of China Hong Kong Ltd. and HSBC Holdings Plc designs since Dec. 23, a press officer said by phone today, declining to be identified, citing police policy. Macau authorities found fake HK$1,000 notes at casinos and banks, while long lines were seen at some banks in Hong Kong as residents sought to exchange their money, public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong reported on its website.

HSBC employees are trained to identify counterfeit notes using standard procedures, Gareth Hewett, a spokesman for the bank in Hong Kong, said in an e-mailed response to a Bloomberg News query. Bank of China Hong Kong staff are trained to detect fake notes and it has set up hotlines to deal with queries, Angel Yip, a spokeswoman, said by phone.

Two people were arrested in Hong Kong yesterday after 19 forged HK$1,000 notes were found with the cash they were depositing in a bank in Tsim Sha Tsui district, police said in an e-mailed statement. One person has since been released unconditionally while the other is out on bail, it said.

2003 Series

Police in Macau found 121 fake notes as of Dec. 28, Apple Daily reported Dec. 29. Macau police couldn’t immediately confirm the figure today.

The monetary authority alerted banks about a counterfeit 2003-series Bank of China HK$1,000 note, according to a Dec. 24 notice on the regulator’s website. Yip said the HK$1,000 notes in this series received by banks won’t be recirculated.

Arrangements were made in 2007 to replace 2000- and 2002-series HK$1,000 notes from HSBC following the appearance of counterfeits, the bank regulator said at the time.

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