Police raids and arrests greeted 19 unsuspecting currency counterfeiters on Monday. The suspects were caught red-handed with RMB720,000 in fake bank notes and 16 unlicensed taxis. The gang had been operating their fake taxis around the city to switch the fake notes with real notes from innocent customers.
Three men were arrested at the gangs base in Yanqing district, while the 16 other suspects were tracked down in locations across the city, as reported by Sixth Tone.
Targeting the major transport hubs as well as popular nightlife spots around town, the gang used the rushed nature of these transactions to target naive tourists and the inebriated. This type of scam is not new. In fact, it has traditionally been the most common way of counterfeiters to switch out bad currency with the real stuff.
Some of the bogus taxis seized by the police (Image via Beijing News)
According to Beijing News, this was the first major bust of a counterfeit currency ring such as this in the capital in the past two decades. This news will be a sign of encouragement to the police department who set up a special task force last month. March also saw the introduction of more than 10,000 smart meters in Beijing taxis in an attempt to cut out illegal ride sharing and fraudulent charges.
While this RMB720,000 seizure was the largest in Beijing for 20 years, it was dwarfed by the RMB214 million raid on counterfeit currency in Guangdong at the start of this year. The Guangdong bust set records as one of the largest counterfeit money raids in China’s history.