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Money Talks: Sometimes it Lies

Bank Indonesia and Bali Police Combine Forces to Curb the Circulation of Counterfeit Money.

(4/23/2011) Bank Indonesia is expressing concern at the growing amount of counterfeit Indonesian currency  in Bali. According to Bank officials cited by Kompas.com, the amount of bogus rupiah bills in circulation has increased from 1,800 bills in 2005 to 2,800 bills in 2010, an increase of 55%.

Fears have been expressed that Bali may be experiencing a surge in high quality illegal tender following a recent raid by Bali police that uncovered a syndicate that had in their possession Rp. 50 million (US$5,500) in counterfeit money – all in Rp. 100,000 bills.

Adding to law enforcement sources they are concerned that the quality of counterfeit money circulating in traditional markets is "near perfect" and almost indistinguishable from genuine legal tender. The illegal tender manages to closely duplicate paper quality, watermarks and security threads that distinguishes  genuine rupiah notes. The only indication noticeable to most users is that the fake Indonesian bills all bear identical serial numbers.

The chief of Bank Indonesia in Bali, Jeffrey Kahuripan, told the press: "The counterfeiting of money in Bali is trending upwards. If this is not controlled, this will result internationally in negative press and a loss of public confidence in the rupiah as a currency."

A joint team of police and Bank officials has been established to help enlist public support in limiting the use of counterfeit currency in Bali.

Bank Indonesia is also coordinating the Indonesian police and prosecutors to deter counterfeiting by seeking maximum penalties for those caught involved in the passage of bogus money.

Nationwide Indonesian police estimate the amount of counterfeit currency in circulation has a face value of Rp. 14.2 billion (US$1.6 million). Of the 177 cases of counterfeiting handled nationally by the police in the past year, 13 cases (7.4%) took place in Bali.