Chatham Road North, Hung Hom Photo: Google Maps
Chatham Road North, Hung Hom Photo: Google Maps

Hong Kong Police on Tuesday busted a clandestine workshop replicating fake banknotes allegedly run by an asylum seeker from India and his girlfriend, inside a partitioned apartment of a tenement block in Kowloon’s Hung Hom area.

The Oriental Daily News reported that counterfeit banknotes with a total face value of HK$4,100 (US$520) were found in a subdivided flat on Chatham Road North in the police raid, after the force’s Commercial Crime Bureau and Regional Anti-Triad Unit were alerted.

The police said fake notes with denominations of HK$100, HK$500 and HK$1,000 were seized, as well as two computers, three inkjet printers, clipping tools and stacks of A4 paper. It was believed that the workshop had just started operation.

The texture of the counterfeit notes was said to be of rather low quality with no embossed feel, believed to have been printed on copy paper with security features glued on them to resemble the watermarks and dynamic color-changing patterns of genuine notes.

A 26-year-old Indian, an asylum seeker holding a recognisance form, and his Russian girlfriend, who holds a Hong Kong identity card, reportedly put up stiff resistance during the police swoop and one female constable was injured and sent to hospital.

The duo were then arrested on suspicion of making or custody of counterfeit banknotes and assaulting police officers.

The police investigation is still under way but it’s said the workshop had nothing to do with any known counterfeit-banknote syndicate.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, says the city has seen a continuous decrease in counterfeiting and currently there is less than one fake banknote in every million genuine notes in circulation. It says newer notes incorporate state-of-the-art security designs and plate-making and printing technologies to enhance their anti-counterfeiting features and recognizability.