Movie-makers get guide to using prop banknotes

Local | Charlotte Luo 20 Jun 2018

Film-making associations met with the police, the Hong Monetary Authority and government representatives yesterday to clarify procedures and requirements for using prop banknotes.

The Crimes Ordinance says a person who reproduces any Hong Kong banknote without consent in writing from the Monetary Authority will commit an offense.

However, not all those in the film industry were aware of the clause until two of them were given two-year suspended sentences for possessing 200,000 in fake banknotes that were labeled "props."

The authority requires anyone who intends to reproduce banknotes to submit a written application. It will then decide whether to issue an interim approval for the applicant to prepare a sample of the prop banknote, which will be reviewed by the authority and the Commercial Crime Bureau. After confirming the samples and details, written approval will be issued.

At the meeting, the authority said "a set of samples will be attached to the existing guidelines to demonstrate the required size of the prop banknotes and the distinguishing designs and features required to set them apart from genuine currency."

After the meeting, the vice chairman of the Hong Kong Film Arts Association, Alex Mok Siu-chung, said the previous application procedures were confusing. He said the meeting helped build a platform for mutual understanding. The industry will adhere to the authority's requirements.

Hong Kong Televisioners Association chairman Tsui Siu-ming said the authority promised to shorten the time taken to approve applications.

In a phone interview, cultural sector legislator Ma Fung-kwok suggested introducing a licensing system to regulate prop banknotes.

He said a licensed person should be in charge of monitoring prop banknotes for them to be recycled and used in different movies.

To prevent such notes from going into circulation, the authority insisted that all applicants must follow the necessary requirements, which include the prop banknotes being 20 percent smaller or larger than actual banknotes.

The name of the film or company and the words "Stage Money" must also be prominently printed in both Chinese and English on both sides of the banknotes.

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