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Thai Police Take Down Major Network of Fake US Dollar Gangs

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Thai Police Take Down Major Network of Fake US Dollar Gangs

In collaboration with the US Secret Service, Thailand’s Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT) has cracked down on a major network of fake-dollar gangs, confiscating offset printing machines and tens of thousands of counterfeit $100 bills.

In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Pol Maj Gen Naphanwut Liamsanguan who commands the Investigation Division of the Provincial Police Region 8, said that the crackdown was the biggest on a dollar bill forgery gang since 2012.

So far, fake dollar bill crackdowns have resulted in 40 legal cases. Most of the notes seized belong to the 2006 series and 2006A series. The police arrested a variety of suspects involved in the operation, including dealers, coordinators, employers, and banknote printers.

Three high-quality offset printing machines were also confiscated, filling a gap since 2016 when police last seized a press in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district, Pol Maj Gen Naphanwut said.

From July to September, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas and Pol Maj Gen Naphanwut coordinated with ASG In Bangkok Christopher Rohde after they became aware of increasing banknote forgeries in Thailand.

Thai Police Take Down Major Network of Fake US Dollar Gangs

US dollar printing presses seized

A source told the collaboration that most banknote fraud occurs in Southeast Asia. During the crackdown, 8 wrongdoers were arrested and many printing presses were seized, Rohde said.

Pol Maj Gen Naphanwut said PCT cooperated with Metropolitan Police in cracking down on the gang, which later led to a raid on a factory in Bang Len district of Nakhon Pathom in which 36,000 counterfeit $100 bills were seized.

On Nov 11, two additional crackdowns were conducted.

The first incident took place in the Muang district of Phetchaburi, where police seized four offset printing machines and nabbed a banknote printing supervisor known only as Thongmak.

At another place in Bangkok, police arrested a major Lao funder, known only as Mr. Boonchuai, who was the press procurer for a factory in Nakhon Pathom. He was captured at a house in the Klong Toey district.

Police had arrested Mr. Kitchaphat on Nov 12 and seized 10,000 counterfeit $100 bills.

Mr. Kitchaphat claims Mr. Siraphob brought the fake dollar bills to be distributed by requiring Mr. Boonchuai to pay him to rent a house in the Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani and print the fake banknotes there.

Read: Thai Baht Falls to its Weakest Value in 14 months Against US Dollar

The police secured search warrants for the location and found several items, including printing machines and fake dollar bills, resulting in further warrants being secured against the wrongdoers for forgery of foreign currency. They could face life in prison.

Thai Police Take Down Major Network of Fake US Dollar Gangs

According to Pol Maj Gen Naphanwut, the US Secret Service also sent staff to join the investigation, which found a link between the printing sites in Nakhon Pathom and Pathum Thani that may have been run by the same gang.

According to him, the seized banknotes in Nakhon Pathom were a 95% likeness to real ones, while in Pathum Thani they were a 96-97% likeness. “Even experts were amazed by the likenesses,” he said.

Guidelines have been provided by the police on how to spot fake $100 bills.

For starters, cotton replaces paper as the primary raw material for $100 bills. As a result of the difference in material, it can still be washed in the washing machine.

The watermark bearing Benjamin Franklin’s portrait will be clearly visible when held up to the light. In addition, if you hold the banknote up to the light, you will see that the left side is imprinted with the letters the USA and the number 100.

Last but not least, when tilting the note to see the numeral 100 in the lower right corner, the color of the numeral will change from green to black.

Crime Track can be reached at [email protected]

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