Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Six men have been arrested in connection with distributing 5,000 kyat denomination counterfeit notes in three cities in Burma, according to police.
Police said that fake notes in gunny bags were found in a warehouse in Myawaddy, a border town opposite Mae Sot, Thailand. A district court in Hpa-an in Karen State conducted a hearing on the case on Wednesday.
The men were arrested with 5,000 kyat denomination counterfeit notes in Mandalay, Myawaddy and Thaton, according to police. They were charged with distributing, using and found to be in possession of counterfeit notes.
A source close to Hpa-an judicial circles said that one of the accused in the case is a protégé of Myawaddy Chamber of Commerce member Thin Thin Myat. The Myawaddy Chamber of Commerce vice chairman, Dr. Maung Maung Lay, told Mizzima that Thin Thin Myat had not attended their weekly meetings for three weeks.
The 5,000 kyat note is the highest denomination currency in circulation in Burma, and the Central Bank of Myanmar first issued it on October 1, 2009.
Seizures of counterfeit 5,000 kyat denomination notes were reported frequently this year. Fake notes were seized in the Myanmar Citizens Bank head office in Kyauktada Township, Rangoon Region, in July. Counterfeit notes worth 3 million kyat (US$ 3,871) were also seized in Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.
Police said the fake notes were seized along with machines and equipment used in counterfeiting in Yuzana garden city, Dagon Seikkan Township in Rangoon Region in early April. Local media also reported that counterfeit notes were seized in Deze Township in Sagaing Division in May.
One person identified as “police personnel” was arrested with a counterfeit note of 5,000 kyat denomination while he was shopping in Myoma market in Bago city in January.
Officials said there is no embossed printing on the counterfeit note. In genuine notes, the numeral 5,000 is printed in an embossed design and it can be easily tested by rubbing on it. Moreover the security thread in a genuine note of this denomination is large. It is smaller in fake notes.
Counterfeiting is punishable by up to life imprisonment and those who knowingly keep counterfeit notes in their possession with intention of using them can be sentenced to up to 7 years imprisonment, according to the Central Bank of Myanmar.