|Four men sentenced for using fake banknotes
The District Court has jailed three young men for circulating fake HK$100 banknotes last year. A fourth accomplice, who is aged 17, was sent to a Training Centre.
The four defendants said they worked for a mastermind called "Ar Gai" who told them to spend the fake HK$100 notes in convenience stores or fastfood chains in order to get real money in change. "Ar Gai" would hide the counterfeit notes in advance in public toilets, before instructing the four on where to go to get them, RTHK reports.
It is not known how much counterfeit money they spent in total, but the court was told that they would be given about 30 to 40 forged HK$100 notes in each batch.
In passing sentence, Judge Johnny Chan said the notes were poorly made but the amount and value of the bogus money involved in the case was considerable and that the planning had been rather sophisticated.
Citing previous cases, he said there was a need to send a clear message that such crimes are serious and must not be allowed to spread.
The eldest defendant, 23-year-old Ngai Shing-lung, was the first to join the scam. The judge noted that while he rarely made any purchases, Ngai took on the role of a lookout and therefore bore the most serious culpability. He was sentenced to 42 months in prison. Two other defendants were jailed for 28 and 34 months. The judge said the teenager, 17-year-old Chan Lok-ki, could spend between six months and three years in the Training Centre depending on his behaviour.
"Ar Gai" -- the man behind the counterfeit scam -- is still at large.