Skip to comments.No Ordinary Counterfeit [North Korean $100 Bills]
Posted on 07/23/2006 8:19:04 AM PDT by aculeus
On Oct. 2, 2004, the container ship Ever Unique, sailing under a Panamanian flag from Yantai, China, berthed in the Port of Newark. [snip] ... F.B.I. and Secret Service agents, acting as part of a sting operation, gathered around the container and cracked it open ... they found counterfeit $100 bills worth more than $300,000, secreted in false-bottomed compartments.
The counterfeits were nearly flawless. They featured the same high-tech color-shifting ink as genuine American bills and were printed on paper with the same precise composition of fibers. The engraved images were, if anything, finer than those produced by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Counterfeits of this superior sort known as supernotes had been detected by law-enforcement officials before, elsewhere in the world, but the Newark shipment marked their first known appearance in the United States, at least in such large quantities.
The arrests also prompted a more momentous accusation. After the indictments were released, U.S. government and law-enforcement officials began to say in public something that they had long said in private: the counterfeits were being manufactured not by small-time crooks or even sophisticated criminal cartels but by the government of North Korea. The North Koreans have denied that they are engaged in the distribution and manufacture of counterfeits, but the evidence is overwhelming that they are,
The counterfeiting of American currency by North Korea might seem, to some [like the New York Times? -ed], to be a minor provocation by that countrys standards.
But several current and former Bush administration officials whom I spoke with several months ago maintain that the counterfeiting is in important ways a comparable outrage. ... counterfeits, by creating mistrust in the American currency, posed a threat to the American people.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I would remind all (FReepers) and sundry (administration members who lurk on FR) that counterfeiting another country's currency is an act of war.
Evidently Kim-Il Jong does not value the armistice which secures his despotate from American attack.
ACT OF WAR!!!
Seems like a pretty small-time shipment to be a government operation. They could just as easily have shipped $3M or $300M.
But..but...but...he's soooo ronrey....
Is it? I'm not up enough on international law to know if this is one of the specific actions that is "an act of war".
Source please? Anyone?
I'm sure we just caught a small sample. I wonder how much of this stuff they could be passing around overseas among banks.
Three million dollars worth arrived on another ship in Newark two months later
I think it's supposed to be $300,000,000.
There is a comma after the second set of zeros.
So what do we call the continuous printing on our gumt's presses, when there is nothing to stand behind it but a (less than) worthless IOU?
Our bank held a workshop on the "supernotes" for local business because they were being passed around.
They are almost imperceptible from the real thing.
We inspect 5% of containers, so one container with 300K is the spillage of running dozens of containers into the US. Most counterfeits are used overseas, it is so bad that most foreign merchants will not take a US 100 dollar bill, and these are the ones in proximity to Us FOBs and bases.
Only a state with its resources could produce something like that. That is basically an act of war for a state to engage in such a thing.
I think it would depend on the uses of it. If the attempt is to undermine the value of the currency then yeah 300k is small time, however if the attempt is to make a profit or to use it as real currency at face value then the perps probably would rather keep the production at a fairly unnoticeable level.
Counterfeiting another nation's currency is generally accepted to be an economic act of war, and that standard was established long ago.
I would suggest that if you want the precise citation of international or U.S. law, that as the saying goes,
"Google Is Your Friend"
(just don't download their toolbars and other spyware ;)
Iran was involved in this before the last round of changes to the $100 bill, and was largely responsible for that change.
That ol' Axis of Evil keeps rearing it's ugly head!
Psst ... Lake Toplitz (and the British five-pound note).
Interesting. Thanks for posting.
OK. So why aren't we - with our far superior technology, dropping planeloads of counterfeit NK currency across the peninsula?
Seriously. Drive the NK economy even further into the ground.
Maybe it will prompt Kim to adopt the SK Won, then (frankly it would be worth it) Kim can be promised a fancy oceanfront Villa on the Sea of Japan with all the movies and babes he can handle - and the dismantling of that Marxist regime can begin.
It would beat the alternative.
Money is now a 'commodity' traded on the market.
It isn't a tradition 'IOU' as was given when you gave something to someone with a promise it would be paided in the future.
It is a 'good' that is traded in exchange for a product or service.
In and of itself, that is not a problem because it's easier to carry 'dollars' around then a truck load of chickens, or pigs or whatever you want to 'barter' with.
The problem comes when the Government decides it needs more 'bargaining power' and prints excess dollars which flood the market.
That drives the dollars value down, and in return, ends up hurting everyones bargaining power and reduces the value of their 'goods'.
tradition = traditional
This is just economic warfare...they are intentially trying to cause inflation in this country by increasing the paper money in circulation...a defector that was employed by their counterfitting operation has told us that they have been doing this for years. Just another play out of China's playbook, enacted by their puppet to evaluate the effectiveness.
But, I wonder how many times they've done this and not gotten caught.
That drives the dollars value down, and in return, ends up hurting everyones bargaining power and reduces the value of their 'goods'.
Here in the US, we call it the "Federal Reserve" system. It makes that happen every new day!
That is a very misleading and erroneous method of approach to this subject.
We do track all ships coming and going from the USA. Only specific ships that are from specific areas or have deviated from predetermined schedules or have been flagged for one reason or another are inspected.
Much of the cargo that comes in is coming from known sources and thus are given more latitude.
It's no more counterfeit than our own...And, it spends just as easily...
It's a lot tougher to counterfeit gold...
We wouldn't have this problem if we quit using imaginary money..........
In recent editorials, NYT blamed the Bush administration for letting an "unrelated banking dispute" interfere with talks. This is that "dispute".
Which begs the question...are the banks recognizing them, or distributing them?
Do they respond to the "normal" counterfeit detection methods?
Perhaps someone could print up a couple hundred thousand counterfeit NYT every day, and leave them on the street for people to read, for free.
You'd have to be careful not to let a fact slip in. That would give the game away.
Is China Complicit in North Korean Currency Counterfeiting?by John J. Tkacik, Jr.
When it comes to North Korea, the United States has concerns about more than just nuclear weapons. For over 25 years, Pyongyangs state-supervised currency printing plants have been churning out high-grade counterfeit U.S. dollars as well as counterfeit Japanese yen, Thai baht, and in recent years, euros. A more recent concern is the increasing evidence that China has not been an innocent bystander in North Koreas traffic in bogus bills.
In the 1990s, Pyongyang purchased advanced high-speed banknote presses similar to those used by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and began to print extremely high-quality copies of foreign currency notes dubbed supernotes by the U.S. Secret Service. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated in 2003 that North Korea earned as much as $100 million a year from counterfeit currency. In 2005, an interagency U.S. task force broke a number of North Korean counterfeit cases. The task force estimates that $45 million to $60 million in Pyongyangs counterfeit currency (primarily in U.S. $100 bills) is in circulation today.
China enters the picture through Macau. Prior to 2000, Macau was under Portugals colonial administration. In 1994, Portuguese police arrested several North Korean trading company executives, who carried diplomatic passports, for depositing $250,000 in counterfeit notes in a Macau bank. Otherwise, counterfeit currency laundering there was not pronounced. This began to change sometime after control over the area was transferred to China in late 1999 and it became the Macau Special Administrative Region. From that time until September 2005, when a U.S. law-enforcement case known as Operation Smoking Dragon traced a large quantity of counterfeits to a Macau bank known as Banco Delta Asia, North Koreas state-run global money-laundering operations were based in Macau.
The United States Treasury Department quickly imposed strict financial sanctions on Banco Delta Asia, naming it as a a willing pawn for the North Korean government to engage in corrupt financial activities through Macau, a region that needs significant improvement in its money-laundering controls.  Although a Treasury spokesperson was candid about the Banco Delta Asia sanctions, she had no comment about whether Treasury was also investigating Beijings Bank of China branches in Macau. U.S. law enforcement officials involved in the Smoking Dragon case were initially frustrated by a Justice Department decision, apparently made for diplomatic reasons, not to name China and North Korea as the sources of counterfeit currency and other goods. Oddly, indictments in an August 2005 counterfeiting case referred to source countries only by numbers. North Korea was subsequently named, but Chinas role remains shrouded.
Macau sources told U.S. officials that when Banco Delta Asia ceased passing supernotes for Pyongyang, North Koreas agents moved their accounts to Chinese state-owned banks in the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone adjacent to Macau. According to the Los Angeles Times, immediately following the U.S. Treasury action in Macau, North Koreas flagship front-company there, Zokwang Trading Co., closed its headquarters on the fifth floor of an office building near Banco Delta Asia, and most of its personnel have relocated to Zhuhai, just across the border in China proper.
Another intriguing piece in the North Korean counterfeit supernote puzzle came in October 2005 when U.S. prosecutors indicted Sean Garland, a member of Irelands radical left, for procuring supernotes directly from North Korean officials. Garlands connections in China had long been a focus of U.S. criminal surveillance. According to top secret U.S. intelligence reporting, reportedly based on telecommunications intercepts by the National Security Agency, Garland may have been introduced to his North Korean contact in 1997 by a Chinese Communist Party official, Ms. Cai Xiaobing, while visiting Beijing. Ms. Cao was identified as director of the International Liaison Department, the bureau within the Chinese Communist Party structure that supports communist parties abroad. U.S. intelligence analysts reportedly believe that the "unidentified business opportunities" that Garland discussed with Ms. Cao related to North Korea.
A clear trail of supernote American $100 bills extends through China and back to North Korea. In February 2006, South Korean police arrested three people who had purchased supernote counterfeits with a face value of $140,000 from a broker in Shenyang, China. That same month, a South Korean legislator said he had obtained Series 2003 supernote counterfeits in the Chinese city of Dandong. I paid $70 to get each of these [counterfeit $100 bills], but you can get them for as little as $50 in China, the legislator told a South Korean parliamentary meeting. And much earlier, in 1994, U.S. Secret Service investigators had tracked the chief of the North Korean counterfeiting ring to China where, according to press reports, the trail went coldat the least an indication of a lack of Chinese police cooperation.
In 1998, the Japanese Navy seized a North Korean spy-ship with a multi-million dollar consignment of supernote U.S. and Japanese currency. Since then, Japanese maritime forces have been alert to the movements of North Korean ships in their waters. By December 2001, Japanese and American intelligence officials had become aware that North Korean spy-ships were regular visitors to Chinese naval bases.
A considerable amount of circumstantial evidence points to Chinese complicity in North Koreas counterfeit currency networks. The nature of the evidence, especially the ease with which North Korean counterfeiters were able to relocate from Macau to more secure offices inside China, indicates that China gives aid and asylum to North Korean counterfeiting operations as a matter of policy. If so, there is little hope that North Koreas criminal activities can be brought to heel until China changes its wayswhether by diplomacy or by litigation of its banks and officials.
Administration law-enforcement and intelligence agencies must be encouraged to brief Congress on the extent of Chinese cooperation with U.S. investigations into North Korean counterfeitingor the lack thereof. U.S. prosecutors, meanwhile, must be encouraged to pursue leads involving Chinese complicity.
John J. Tkacik, Jr., is Senior Research Fellow in China Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.
 Country Profile 2003; South Korea, North Korea, Economist Intelligence Unit, p. 85.
 For a comprehensive look at North Koreas counterfeit currency industry see Balbina Y. Hwang, Curtailing North Koreas Illicit Activities, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1679, August 25, 2003, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/bg1679.cfm.
 See prepared statement of William Bach, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Department of State, Hearing on Drugs, Counterfeiting and Arms Trade: The North Korean Connection, before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Management, The Budget, and International Security, May 20, 2003.
 For more background see The Macau Connection: The Former Portuguese Colony was a Terrorist Base for Pyongyang, Far Eastern Economic Review, February 13, 2003, at http://www.asiapacificms.com/articles/north_korea_banking/.
 U.S. Says Bank Laundered Money for Pyongyang, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2005, p. A12, at http://online.wsj.com/article/
 Glenn R. Simpson, Gordon Fairclough, Jay Solomon, U.S. Probes Banks' North Korea Ties, The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2005, p. A3, at http://online.wsj.com/article/
 Private conversations with U.S. officials.
 Barbara Demick, No More Gambling on N. Korea; China's Macao, its casinos looking for U.S. funds, has dropped a pariah bank client, The Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2006, at http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/
 Bill Gertz, U.S. accuses North Korea of $100 bill counterfeiting, The Washington Times, October 12, 2005, P. A-04, at http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/
20051011-102257-5167r.htm. See also Mark Sherman, Irish Man Charged in Counterfeit Scheme, The Associated Press, October 12, 2005.
 Bill Gertz, China supports foreign leftists, Irish communist visited party official in 1997, NSA says, The Washington Times, May 10, 2001, Pg. A7. See also Bill Gertz, Irish forgery suspect fights U.S. extradition, The Washington Times, November 17, 2005, at http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/
Seoul 'Concealed U.S. Information on N.K. Dollar Fakes', Chosun Ilbo (Seoul), February 12, 2006, at http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/
 S.Korean Lawmakers Give Details on North Fake Money, Reuters, February 22, 2006.
 John K. Cooley, The rogue money printers of Pyongyang, International Herald Tribune, October 23, 2005.
 David Ibison, Pyongyang's spy ship reveals a dark secret, Financial Times, May 28, 2003, p.3. See also U.S. photos show mystery ship look-alike, Japan Times, March 2, 2002, citing Asahi Shimbun. p.1; Japan ends ship probe, Japan Times, March 2, 2002 (citing Kyodo News Agency).
The NYT offers up to conservatives a "white flag" article.
Keep them coming. You've got a lot to repay.
And don't use counterfeits.
Source please? Anyone?<<
Check out why the American flag has a yellow fring on it in all government buildings...thats a good start....It might suprise ya!
I suspect that this is one reason why American currency has undergone so many changes in recent years. I suspect we're less worried about Bruno running a basement printing press than we are Iran or N Korea sinking our currency with bogus paper.
and yes, according to the LAW... This Means War.
too bad we didnt have a gold and silver based currency like the founding fathers envisioned...that would solve a lot of it!...throughout history...."Fiat money" has always been, and always will be, a way to steal wealth....nothing new here...move along folks......Even Greenspan understood it at one time!.. http://www.321gold.com/fed/greenspan/1966.html
For people who handle a lot of cash money (like tellers) yes they usually spot them. The special marking pens do NOT spot them which is what so many small businesses use.
They have since made arrests in LA involving illegals and smugglers, but when the bills were circulating, we kept a real hundred for comparison.
The two things I remember most is that the fakes were to slick even for a crisp new bill as they had a coating to prevent the pens from detecting them and one serial number was backwards, making it readable from the backside of the bill instead of the from the bill face.
Most people could not detect the slickness unless they had a better than average sense of touch. I work with fibers professionally so I spotted that right off. The serial number was definitely the best and most obvious tip off.
see post 39
Leave to the NYT to compliment NK on defacing our money and undermining our economy.
*sigh* It's too hot to google...
Holy cow - who knew?
You mean we've been living under martial law all these years, and didn't even know it?
(google "american flag gold admiralty" for a moonbat break)
"The Government of China is holding U.S. currency and Treasury notes in a $1.9 trillion Treasury bond trap."
It's always amusing to note the Flag in the corner and ask the judge if this is a Military Tribunal, or a civilian Court...
Ok ... here's a thought:
What say our guys (and gals - not trying to be an oaf here) create a couple thousand equally high quality counterfeit renminbi.
That's the "peoples currency" - or Yuan.
Then we distribute them say - in Venezuela or Iran, in such a way it looks like Kim is circulating them.
(nyuk nyuk nyuk)