Local police and banks have pledged stronger efforts to fight rampant banknote counterfeiting in south China's Guangdong Province.
Ma Jing, president of Guangzhou Branch of People's Bank of China, said fake banknote production and circulation last year damaged Guangdong's reputation as a regional financial center.
"Fake banknote production and trafficking activities have also affected normal operation of the province's financial organizations and social stability after an increasing number of farmers have become the victims of the counterfeit currencies," Ma was quoted as saying by Guangzhou-based Information Times.
More than 80 percent of the country's fake banknotes were produced in Guangdong last year, said Ma.
Most of the secret production facilities are believed to be in the cities of Shantou, Shanwei and Jieyang in the eastern part of Guangdong.
Counterfeit bills are now produced in less valuable notes, with fake currency circulating in 10 yuan, 5 yuan and even 1 yuan denominations.
Ma urged police and financial organizations across the province to take measures to fight illegal production and ensure healthy financial transactions in Guangdong, which borders the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
Ma, who is also a deputy to Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, also urged the introduction of provincial laws and regulations to help fight the practice and punish counterfeiters and traffickers.
A police officer from Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Security yesterday reaffirmed police's intention to crack down on counterfeiting.
"Guangdong police will spare no effort to fight fake currency and related economic crimes to ensure better financial operations," said the police officer, who did not want to be named.
In November, Guangdong police seized 105.5 million yuan (US$13.50 million) worth of fake banknotes and arrested eight suspects when they swooped in on a secret production base in the city of Heyuan. Printing equipment and tools were also seized.
The officer said he believes the crackdown has dealt a blow counterfeit production and trafficking in the province.
Ma said more than 540 million yuan (US$69.23 million) worth of counterfeit currency was seized across the country last year, up more than 20 percent from the year previous.
Of the total, 450 million yuan (US$57.69 million) was seized by police in Guangzhou, accounting for more than 80 percent of the mainland.
(China Daily February 12, 2007)