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Counterfeit banknotes

Common con tricks

The seized counterfeit Hong Kong dollar banknotes are insignificant in number and mostly of poor quality, and were mainly produced by ‘Inkjet’ or ‘Toner’ printers. These counterfeit banknotes have no security feature, which are smooth in surface and giving no embossed feel. They may even have the same serial number.

Nowadays, business and commerce between the Mainland and Hong Kong are frequent. Both Hong Kong and CNY banknotes are widely circulated in the two places. In recent years, about 40% of the counterfeit banknotes seized in Hong Kong were CNY banknotes.

In the past, Hong Kong residents received counterfeit banknotes (including counterfeit CNY and Hong Kong banknotes, with counterfeit CNY banknotes in the majority) through ‘Money Swapping’ scams conducted by fraudsters while travelling in the Mainland. The usual modus operandi of culprits is to swap the genuine banknotes with the counterfeit ones when the customer makes payment to the hired vehicle or for goods. Some victims put their properties in lockers provided in massage establishments. The culprits then open the lockers and swap the money.


  • Browse the web pages of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the People’s Bank of China to familiarise yourself with the security features of Hong Kong banknotes and CNY banknotes;
  • Be careful while receiving or changing banknotes;
  • Check the security features of the banknote, such as holographic windowed thread and the watermark; rub its surface to see whether it gives you an embossed feel and see if the colour of the banknote fades;
  • On receiving a counterfeit banknote, you should immediately hand it over to the Police or a bank; do not attempt to reuse it, otherwise, you might commit the offence of “Passing counterfeit notes” under section 99 of Crimes Ordinance, Chapter 200, the Laws of Hong Kong;
  • Pay attention to police publicity campaigns so as to heighten your awareness in this regard; and
  • In case of doubt, seek assistance from the Police or banks.