Report: North Korea circulating counterfeit Chinese bills

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   April 6, 2016 at 3:05 PM
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HONG KONG, April 6 (UPI) -- North Korea could be counterfeiting Chinese currency and the fake bills are in circulation in several Chinese cities.

North Korea is deploying "three killer weapons," and one of them is counterfeit currency, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television reported.

Pyongyang is also using other illegal means, weapons and drug trafficking, to earn money in Russia and Japan, according to Phoenix.

The Hong Kong television network reported North Korea also has "world-class" counterfeiting technology capable of manufacturing U.S. dollars and Japanese yen, in addition to the yuan.

In the Chinese city of Dalian, falsified bank notes were identified as North Korean, Chinese state news website Global Times reported March 28.

Fake new 100-yuan bills were also being circulated in the Chinese city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province starting in November 2015. Many experts have speculated those bills are also of North Korean origin.

Lu Chao, director of the Border Studies Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said there have been several instances of North Korea counterfeiting currency, and it's "already been proved" North Korea has counterfeited U.S. dollars.

North Korea has made a "risky decision" if it has decided to counterfeit the new Chinese yuan currency, and it reflects the country's struggles in the wake of recent United Nations Security Council sanctions, Lu said.

Du Ping, a commentator for Phoenix TV, said North Korea could be undertaking "unimagined feats" in response to economic sanctions.

The currency has made its way into China through cross-border tourism and merchants.

Vendors at North Korea's unofficial markets prefer to transact in the Chinese yuan and not the North Korean won for trade, according to defectors.

China is North Korea's closest economic partner, but Beijing has denounced Pyongyang's decision to pursue the development of nuclear weapons.

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