N EARLY one million counterfeit US$100 banknotes have been seized by Phnom Penh
police since the UNTAC elections, according to a police spokesman.
further 100,000 fake Thai baht notes have been confiscated, said Heng Pov, chief
of the police's anti-drug counterfeiting and art theft bureau.
A total of
11 people have been arrested for dealing in counterfeit notes since the
In the lasted case, the police last month confiscated 29,500
fake US$100notes-which Heng Pov said were almost perfect replicas-being peddled
by Phnom Penh's money -changers.
One Khmer man was arrested and a further
two were being sought.
Heng Pov said police did not believe that
counterfeit money was produced in Cambodia Most was thought to have come from
Thailand or Singapore, and imported by log dealers through Cambodia's western
Fake currency of poor quality was sometimes sent to Vietnam to be
touched up before being reimported to Cambodia.
Other notes, however, were of excellent quality and very hard to distinguish
from real ones.
Pov said importers of counterfeit notes sold them to
black marketers for $20-30 per 100. They sometimes passed them themselves,
buying expensive goods and paying with a mixture of real and fake notes.
He said the police concentrated on trying to catch big dealers, rather than
people passing small amounts of bogus money. The police confiscated all
counterfeit notes they found, but did not charge people who did not know they
were using fake money.
The National Bank of Cambodia said many counterfeit US notes were brought in
to the bank by people unaware unaware they were fakes. The bank has warned the
public that counterfeits are circulating around market places.
Sokly, a money exchanger at a Kandal market, said she was regularly asked to
pass fake notes, once even by a 10-year-old boy.
Some people said they
were not dealing in the notes but had innocently accepted them from other
"I don't want to [pass fake notes] because it is a big risk. Of course, it is
profitable," Sokly said.