Police Warn Of Fake RM20 Notes After 14 Hawkers Are Paid With Counterfeit Money

The victims did not realise they had been cheated until they noticed the notes' poor paper quality hours later.

Cover image via Suara Sarawak (Facebook)

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A group of wet market hawkers in Sibu, Sarawak, lodged a police report on Monday, 30 January, after they had all received fake RM20 notes while conducting business

According to Dayak Daily, a 40-second video of a Pasar Tamu Sibu Jaya hawker holding up a fake RM20 note has gone viral on social media.

Bernama reported that a total of 14 traders had each received a fake note with the same serial number by an individual who had bought goods from them that morning.

The victims, aged in their 40s and 50s, had all traded with the same suspect but did not realise they had been cheated until hours later

Sibu district police chief ACP Zulkipli Suhaili confirmed on Tuesday, 31 January, that the commercial crime investigation unit is looking into the case.

"All of them said that a 40-year-old woman accompanied by her five-year-old daughter had bought daily necessities from them. After that, the woman paid them with a RM20 note each," said Zulkipli.

"However, three hours later, one of the traders found that the note's paper quality was poor and the ink had started to deface."

The trader then reportedly went on social media to alert the public of the incident.

The counterfeit RM20 note (top) compared to a real RM20 banknote (bottom).

Image via Suara Sarawak (Facebook)

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, counterfeits banknotes can be recognised upon closer examination with the 'Feel, Look, Tilt, and Check' principle:

Feel: Real banknotes have a raised print effect on the texts and portrait of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Look: Real notes will have a three-dimensional watermark portrait.
Tilt: The security thread and coloured glossy patch should change colours.
Check: At closer inspection, the micro-letterings around the note will be clearly visible.

The police chief said all the counterfeit RM20 notes have since been sent to Bank Negara Malaysia for further action

He also advised the public to be more vigilant to not fall victim to such frauds.

"As a preventive measure, members of the public are advised to first check banknotes received and examine them before handing over goods or conducting business transactions," he said, as reported by The Borneo Post.

"In addition, the public are advised to be careful with buyers who make various excuses and make payments in a rush or forcibly. The public should always be vigilant when receiving money to avoid being deceived and cheated."

The case is being investigated under Section 489B of the Penal Code.

In recent years, counterfeit notes have become harder to detect, even the police have difficulty telling the counterfeit and real ones apart:

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