The Bank of the Lao PDR is urging the public to join forces to combat a rising tide of fake US dollar banknotes and other foreign currencies.
The central bank made the call last week after learning that a group of people were circulating large numbers of fake US$100 notes and other currencies in Laos. The bank is concerned about the damage this can inflict both on individuals and the national economy.
Currency Issuing Department Deputy Director General, Mr Phoukhan Sengsouliya, said yesterday the central bank wanted the public to be more cautious about accepting foreign banknotes and to report to the police immediately if any fake notes came into their possession.
“We cannot provide more details on the circulation of fake notes as the police are trying to trace the source of this crime”. Mr Phoukhan said the central bank could not give the media any information on the quantity of fake notes seized or the number of arrests for financial crimes in recent years. However, he said the circulation of fake foreign banknotes in Laos had been a problem for many years and this was not the first time the central bank had issued such a warning.
Some minimarts are now refusing to accept US dollar notes if a person simply wants to change money, which indicates that the general public is aware of the situation in the wake of the Bank of the Lao PDR’s warning.
Mr Phoukhan said the best way that people could help the central bank to stem the inflow of fake banknotes was to stop using foreign currencies and to only use kip.
Criminals aren’t interested in forging fake kip banknotes as their value is much less than US dollar bills and notes printed in most other currencies. This means the Lao public can feel confident about using kip as there are no fake notes in circulation.
Earlier this month the Bank of the Lao PDR put the first 100,000 kip notes into general circulation, to make it easier for people to carry out large transactions. The note carries various safeguards that make it difficult to copy.
It’s common for Lao people to use foreign currencies when making large payments as they can use fewer notes of high value, and don’t have to carry so much money around. Mr Phoukhan also said people should use commercial banks for making payments and for money transfers to avoid the risk of being given fake banknotes.
Source: Vientiane Times