Beware of the 100 Dollar Bill Minted in 1990

A story about North Korean forgery - the birth of the Super Note
Kwak Dae Jung, Editorial Board  |  2005-12-19 16:55
[imText1]It is making a point of contention that North Korea counterfeits U.S dollar bills and circulates them.

Some South Koreans suspect that the North Korean forgery issue is a part of an American strategy of blockades against North Korea because the time that the U.S. raises an issue about the forgery is when relations between South and North Korea are coming towards friendship. On the 15th of this month, through an editorial comment of Chosun Central News Agency, North Korea claimed, "Our Republic has never counterfeited money, nor been involved with any illegal business."

It is a rude insult for North Korea to deny her forgery because doing so means that North Korea treats the international societies as idiots. It has occurred several times that people with North Korean diplomatic passports were caught exchanging counterfeit money or passing immigration control booths with it. Some of them were sentenced as guilty and others are in the process of trials. Hence North Korean forgery is too obvious to conceal from international societies.

Those South Koreans who suspect the U.S. and international societies to have made up a North Korean forgery story must reconsider their behavior because they seem to have rushed too hastily for the protection of North Korea.

It might be shameful to be the same race as North Korea because North Korea commits international crimes, but that does not permit us to cover up the crimes. In fact, since the crimes were committed by the North Korean regime and not by the North Korean people, we must regain our self-respect as Koreans by revealing the crimes and exterminating them.

The DailyNK is going to make a series of 4 articles about stories on North Korean forgery and its circulation.

Forgeries were so fine that no counterfeit-bill detector could detect them

In July, 1994, the Macanese government made a unique decision. It banned circulating 100 U.S. dollar bills with the printed year of issue being 1990.

Many tourists experienced trouble because of the ban. Many complained that their payment had been refused because they had used 100 dollar bills with the printed year of 1990. This happened in many places such as stores, hotels, casinos, and so on.

Why did the tourist city, where casinos and entertainment are the major sources of income, and where some businesses which are considered to be decadent and illegal in other countries are allowed, take such deadly measures?

The reason is that the Macanese police had arrested two Macanese and 16 North Koreans a few days before the ban on the charge of exchanging counterfeit U.S. dollar bills worth 250 thousand U.S. dollars in Banko Delta Asia. Banko Delta Asia is the bank which has been suspected to be the medium through which North Korea launders its illegal money. This bank suspended business with the North recently.

The Macanese police seized and searched 12 places of the offices and equipment of Chokwang Trade Co., the biggest North Korean trade company, and found a considerable number of forgeries. The U.S. dispatched police officers specializing in forgery to Macao to investigate the locale.

Surprised at the technique of forgery.

The paper of the forgeries was no different from that of the genuine bills. Holding the forgery up to the light, they could see 'USA-100' printed exactly like that of the genuine bill. The counterfeit-bill detector did not react accordingly when the bill was placed in it. They said they had never seen any counterfeit ring be able to make such fine fake bills.

More surprised at their boldness.

It is usual to mix up fake bills with genuine ones when one lauders them. However, North Koreans tried to exchange several bundles of fake bills with a 250 thousand U.S. dollar value without any genuine bills added to them. Thus, it seems that they were very confident of their technique. Moreover, it is not yet known how much face value of fake bills has been circulated these days.

Super Notes were found in the South Korean movement of collecting U.S. dollars

All the counterfeit bills have in common the printed year of 1990 and the face value of 100 U.S. dollars. That's why the Macanese government banned 100 U.S. dollar bills with the printed year of 1990.

That's why the world's finest counterfeit bill is called the 'Super Note.' Because Super Note was made in North Korea, or because the serial number begins with K, it is also called Super-K.

Super Notes have been found all around the world. The counterfeit U.S. dollar bills passed or carried by North Korean diplomats or agents disguised as diplomats who were arrested are all Super Notes. These North Koreans have been caught in many places in the world such as Vietnam, Thailand, Mongolia, Rumania, and so on.

It is assumed that many more Super Notes are circulating than those that were confiscated. In fact, eight or nine out of ten fake 100 U.S. dollar bills found around the world are Super Notes. Super Notes are much trouble to the U.S. because the U.S. dollar is used as the key money in the world.

One episode vividly illustrates how wide Super Notes have spread.

South Koreans launched a large-scale movement of collecting U.S. dollars facing relief financing from the International Monetary Fund during late 1997 to early 1998. The movement encouraged people to collect U.S. dollar bills or coins that they had left carelessly and to exchange them in order to help the country overcome the difficult situation.

The financial organizations were too hurried to check whether there were counterfeit bills before sending the money to overseas financial organizations. Afterwards, counterfeit bills of the value of 140 to 200 thousand dollars returned. Among them, 30 to 40 thousand dollars were comprised of Super Notes. That's evidence that a considerable number of Super Notes had flown into the South.

(To be continued)
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