Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $ 100m in fakes bills seized since '92

$ 100m in fakes bills seized since '92

$ 100m in fakes bills seized since '92

N EARLY one million counterfeit US$100 banknotes have been seized by Phnom Penh

police since the UNTAC elections, according to a police spokesman.

A

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

elections.

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

border.

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.

Hong

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

people.

"I don't want to [pass fake notes] because it is a big risk. Of course, it is

profitable," Sokly said.

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