Police have cracked a counterfeiting operation in Yunlin County, central Taiwan. The counterfeiters were creating fake stimulus vouchers that were intended to help offset the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy.
Police make their way through stacks of NT$500 stimulus vouchers. They’d be worth about US$17 each… if only they were real. That’s right, these are counterfeit vouchers. The person behind the operation is a 70-year-old man, surnamed Su.
Su had nearly 1,900 fake vouchers on hand, worth NT$2.5 million (~US$85,000). Authorities say that Su had enough materials and equipment to print approximately NT$370,000,000 (approximately US12.6 million) worth of fake vouchers.
The government started handing out vouchers last month as a way to kickstart the economy. They’re as good as cash and can be used to purchase many consumer goods.
After completing his first batch of counterfeit vouchers, Su bought scratch cards from a lottery shop, and a cup of coffee from a convenience store. Workers at both venues felt something was off with the vouchers that Su used and immediately reported the transactions to the police.
Luckily, authorities were able to crack the counterfeiting operation before any fake vouchers could enter circulation. Police are reminding people to carefully inspect their vouchers and report any suspicious notes.