Police in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau have broken up a large-scale ring of making, storing and consuming counterfeit money that operates across several southern provinces and cities.
As many as 13 people involved in the ring have been prosecuted, of whom 12 have been arrested while a fugitive is being wanted, Colonel Le Ba Trung, head of the provincial Department of Police's security and investigation uni, said on Saturday.
All means to produce counterfeit money and nearly 400 illicit VND500,000 (US$21.6) banknotes about to enter circulation were also confiscated.
The ring was detected after police in Song Xoai Commune of Phu My Town caught red-handed Tran Anh Khoa, 28, and Huynh Thi Kim Ngoc, 25, using counterfeit money to purchase goods.
Scanning the couple on the spot, the officers discovered 200 counterfeit VND500,000 banknotes.
Khoa then confessed that he had bought the illegal banknotes online.
The provincial security and investigation police unit was able to identify the seller as Le Ngoc Hai, hailing from My An Town in Thap Muoi District in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
|Exhibits of a case of large-scale making, storing and consuming counterfeit money in Dong Thap and Ba Ria - Vung Tau Provinces, Vietnam. Photo: Quynh Giang / Tuoi Tre|
Functional forces searched Hai’s residence in My An and seized many exhibits and equipment that he used to make the counterfeit money, including a computer, a color printer, a scanner and colorings.
Hai told the police that he came up with the idea of making counterfeit money earlier this year and went online to look up the methods.
He started making counterfeit money at his home in February and was able to produce more than 1,000 VND500,000 banknotes in the first ten days, which he sold for about VND130 million ($5,610).
Hai’s customers buy the counterfeit banknotes to resell to other people at the rate of VND1 million ($43) worth of real banknotes in exchange for VND2.5-5 million ($108-216) worth of fake bills.
The counterfeit money traders and consumers often carried out their transactions at grocery stores or gas stations at night.