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Six Thais Busted for Exchanging 477 Fake US $100 Dollar Banknotes

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BANGKOK – Six Thai were arrested Thursday for allegedly exchanging fake US $100 banknotes with a money changer in Northeastern Thailand.

Police arrested the six suspects at a hotel in Nong Khai Thursday night and took them to Muang Nong Khai police station for questioning.

The arrest was made after Pitchayanan Saenchan, 23, a staff member of the Chang Thai Exchange (Nong Khai) filed a complaint with the police. She alleged the six had exchanged 477 fake US$100 banknotes at her shop for Bt1.449 million.

Pitchayanan said the shop realized that the banknotes were fake when she tried to exchange them at the Kasikorn Bank.

Police arrested Ruethai at a hotel and she led police to the five other suspects who were staying in four other rooms.

Police found another 20 fake $100 banknotes with them.

The six suspects were identified as Ruethai Arkhomkla, 34, from Bangkok; Chananchida Kuawicharn, 48, from Pathum Thani; Kulpassorn Rojanapongsa, 52, from Nakhon Sawan; Kingthong Saithong, 46, from Ayutthaya; Pichet Kanhasen, 38, from Surat Thani and Surachai Kitbamroong, 70; from Samut Prakan.

The suspects claimed that they did not know the US banknotes were fake. They said they pooled their money to buy the banknotes from a Laotian woman and later exchanged at the shop to make a profit.

Worawut Nualsaritkul, the owner of the exchange shop, said the fake banknotes looked real and it was difficult to detect that they were forged and urged money exchange shops to be more careful.

Worawut withdrew the fraud complaint against the six after they returned the money in full but charged them with using fake currency. They were released on bail after posting Bt200,000 each.

Woman Arrested with Over $500,000 Counterfeit US Banknotes

In Chiang Rai, police arrested a 54-year-old woman with over $500,000 in counterfeit US $100 banknotes after a covert operation.

Ms. Masaras Nitisakyothin was taken into custody by officers after they searched her house Thursday.

They found two metal boxes containing counterfeit US$100 notes totaling $547,300.00

The first box had 4,949 banknotes, worth about $494,000 at face value. The second held 524 banknotes, with a face value of $52,400, according to police.

The team also found many black notes the same size as the $100 banknotes. The black notes were believed awaiting washing with chemicals, part of the counterfeiting process.