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Counterfeit Money in China

Updated: 01 Jul 2007
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If you live or travel in Xiamen, the chances of you coming across fake Yuan (RMB) is relatively infrequent compare to Guangdong Province which is the counterfeit paradise of China. However, the fake currency has been appearing in Xiamen more regularly in recent years.
 
For unsuspected Xiamen expatriates who have little knowledge on the issue and have no chance of identifying the real one from the fake one, here are some information that might become handy.
 
History of counterfeiting currency in China
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As early as 1980s, according to the March1999 issue of Sanlian Shenghuo Zhoukan, the semi-weekly news magazine of Taiwan, Taiwan is an important source of counterfeit PRC currency. In May 1998, Taipei police confiscated 56 million RMB in a raid.
 
In late 1996 Taiwan police caught four people who had printed 11.2 billion RMB in counterfeit currency. These counterfeit bills were of excellent quality. Bank clerks were able to detect them only by subtle differences in the feel of the bill because of the difference in the paper quality.
 
Much of the money had already been smuggled into China by Taiwan fisherman with the help of clan organizations on the mainland. The Shantou, Guangdong police have made several seizures of counterfeit currency since late 1998, all involving Taiwan fisherman. The largest case involved 74 million RMB.
 
In 2000s, the more significant counterfeit bases have shifted to Guangdong areas. The province is now accounted for more than half of China counterfeit money supply.
 
In April 2001, police in Guangdong Province destroyed six illegal mints, used to make and trade counterfeit Chinese currency bank notes in a province-wide campaign to stamp out organized crimes. In that campaign, the police detained 61 suspects and seized finished and unfinished counterfeit Chinese bank notes with a face value of 126 million yuan, six printing machines and other tools and raw materials for printing fake Chinese bank notes, said sources from Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Security.
 
In September 2005, China Daily reported that police uncovered one of the biggest counterfeit money making and trafficking cases in Guangdong, involving fake banknotes with a total face value of more than 300 million yuan (USD 37.09 million).
Police said the fake banknotes were sold at a low price, each 100-yuan note selling at 2 yuan (25 US cents) in the Pearl River Delta areas
 
It is now evidenced that there is a great deal of counterfeit money circulating in China. Therefore it is not advisable and also not legal to buy Chinese currency anywhere other than an official exchange office (which includes most banks and hotels). If you change your money on the street, you're probably getting counterfeit money and you may lose your money AND be charged with a crime.
 
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) promulgated procedures for confiscating and identifying counterfeit money in an effort to regulate related activities and protect the legal right and interests of money holders.
 
The procedures provided detailed stipulations governing the confiscation and identification of counterfeit money and penalties for violations.
 
Under the procedures, commercial banks, urban and rural credit cooperatives and postal deposit institutions are empowered to confiscate suspected counterfeit cash during transactions, while the PBOC and its authorized identification institutions are responsible for identifying whether the money is counterfeit or genuine.
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The procedures has been put to use since 1st July 2003
 
Travelers should have small bills (RMB 10, 20 and 50 notes) for travel by taxi. Reports of taxi drivers using counterfeit money to make change for large bills are increasingly common, especially in Guangzhou.
 
How to Detect Fake Chinese Money
 
Fake money for one Yuan coins to 100 Yuan bills were found in circulation in China. Many local Chinese who use the currency frequently have a problem in detecting fake money. Foreigners are easier victims.
 
There are a few observations that you need to master before you have a chance of detecting fake Chinese money. However, some of the fakes are so good that you may have to rely on a counterfeit money detector.
 
However, the few observations you learn here may reduce the chance of you accepting a counterfeit note. But, it will never eliminate that risk.
  
Pictures of Chinese Money
 
 
Picture of Chinese notes (1999 series and 2005 series with main anti-counterfeit money features.
 
The ways to identify fake money are:
1. The color
2. The watermark,
3. The paper
4. The braille dots
5. Texture of the print
 
1. The color of RMB notes is hard to imitate, and counterfeit bills are usually too fuzzy, that is, the images and colors are not so sharp.
  
 
2. The most effective way to detect a fake Chinese note is the watermark. Hold the bill up against light, a watermark of Chairman Mao is shown. The watermark on a real 100 Yuan banknote is distinct while the watermark on a fake one is rather obscure.
The watermark on counterfeit money is also not clear. On real bills the outline of the model worker or the Great Helmsman (on the 100 bill of the old copy) or Maozedong (on the new copy) is fairly distinct.
 
3. The way to test the paper is to look at it under a black light. Originally, the way to tell real from fake was to see if the words “YIBAI” or “WUSHI” (depending on the denomination) appeared in fluorescent letters under the light. But the counterfeiters have found a way to imitate this. Now the true test is to see the color of the paper itself under the black light. If the paper appears bright, then it is fake. If it appears to absorb the black light, then it is real.
 
4. On each denomination of the yuan notes (nobody bothers making fake jiao, not to mention fen), there is a corresponding number in braille in the lower left hand corner of the front side. It is hard to feel, but the dots are slightly raised on the surface of the paper. If they are not, then it is also a fake.
 
5. The other way to detect a fake Chinese banknote is to scratch the hair of Chairman Mao. You can feel the hair on a real banknote. But on a fake banknote, the hair can not be felt.
 
SOURCE: APPLETRAVEL
 
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