The District Court in Wan Chai on Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

A 42-year-old Filipino tourist who tried to cash in US$50,000 worth of fake traveler’s checks at a money exchange in Central on Hong Kong was sentenced to two and a half years in jail at the District Court on Thursday.

Noel Rambuyon, an air-conditioner technician, was charged with one count of using a false instrument, sunwebhk.com reported.

He told the court he went to the Travelex Worldwide Money shop in Central on February 6 last year to ask if they would change 50 Thomas Cook traveler’s checks in denominations of US$1,000 each, but Judge Stanley Chan rejected his claims.

Two Travelex staff told the court they had undergone training to detect fake bank instruments and knew right away they were fake when the defendant presented his checks.

During the trial, the defense lawyer insisted the defendant did not know the checks were fake and had gone to the Travelex shop only to inquire if they changed Thomas Cook traveler’s checks. He added that as there were no Travelex branches in the Philippines, the defendant had to go to Hong Kong to make the inquiry.

Judge Chan doubted this, saying the defendant could have called or made inquiries online instead of traveling to Hong Kong. Chan also noted that the fake checks were unsigned and there were no Thomas Cook traveler’s checks in denominations of US$1,000. The judge imposed a jail term of two and a half years.

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