Two smugglers caught with counterfeit dollarsTwo Korean men trying to smuggle nearly $30,000 in high-quality $100 counterfeit bills into the country from China were caught by customs officials at Gimhae International Airport in Busan.
The Busan Main Customs said yesterday that it had arrested a 59-year-old man, surnamed Kim, for violating customs law by smuggling in 297 $100 counterfeit notes into the country from Shanghai, and apprehended a 64-year-old man, surnamed Lee, for helping Kim transport the counterfeit bills. Lee was not detained. Busan officials said the counterfeit money were super-notes, or superior quality counterfeit U.S. $100 bills that are difficult to distinguish with the naked eye.
According to customs, the two men hid the counterfeit notes in their travel bags and departed on Monday from Shanghai. Kim told officials that he purchased 300 $100 notes from a Chinese counterfeit-money manufacturer for 18 million won ($17,600). He said that the counterfeit bills safely passed counterfeit detectors at a Chinese bank, where he successfully exchanged $300, so he figured it would be safe to bring them into Korea and circulate the notes without being suspected. He added that he randomly became acquainted with Lee in China and that Lee agreed to help him smuggle the money into Korea.
This is the first time officials have caught someone trying to smuggle in counterfeit money from another country, though there have been a number of counterfeit cases domestically.
Upon closer examination by authorities, the counterfeit bills confiscated by customs were said to have a slightly different texture because of the paper on which they were printed ? a slight variation in ink color in the “100” printed on the bottom right-hand corner, as well as other barely noticeable differences.
The counterfeits bills were also printed with individual serial numbers, which officials said likely indicated they had been made by professional counterfeiters in China.
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]
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