Interview with U Soe Min, Deputy Governor, the Central Bank of Myanmar, and U Win Myint, Deputy Director-General, Currency Management Department, the Central Bank of Myanmar.
- By Shin Minn
Photo: Lu Maw
Circulations of counterfeit currency notes has jolted the public, and enveloped with worry and concern, which could eventually lead to sense of becoming deeply aggrieved to the citizens as well as the image of the nation. Therefore, the interview was conducted with U Soe Min, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar, and U Win Myint, Deputy Director-General, Currency Management Department, Central Bank of Myanmar.
Question: People are worried about the news of counterfeit currency notes, and please explain the existing banking laws and regulations with regards to this matter.
U Soe Min: Myanmar Central Bank Law article (101) prohibited all acts on making fake notes and counterfeit coins. Anyone who breaches the rule is liable to fine in cash or three years imprisonment, or both punishments.
The article (102) prohibited the import of bogus notes and coins, and the wrong doers are liable (10) to (20) years imprisonment, and all equipment used are to be confiscated.
Question: Please explain in getting hold of counterfeit notes in possession.
Deputy Governor: We could not accuse and decide a person of committing crime for the possession of fake notes in hand. However, we may have to enquire whether the person is holding the fake notes without his knowledge or with some intention to use the illegal cash. The exact intention is to be ascertained, and that the task is to be carried out by the law enforcement agencies.
Question: What sorts of notes are found to be counterfeited?
U Win Myint: Generally, high valued denominations are being faked in the world, and that in Myanmar ten thousand kyat notes and five thousand kyat notes are in circulation, where old notes are being made into forged notes. The new notes could not be faked due to high security systems.
Question: Please tell us about the recent phony cases.
DDG: Earlier, the fake notes are produce with color printer and color copier, and now they are imported from abroad. At the moment, which method used in making counterfeit notes and is yet to make announcement. The foreign security agencies are also investigating the links, and that the source of the problem must be uncovered so as to relieve the worry of the public.
Question: Kindly explain how to check the fake kyat notes.
DDG: There are ways and methods to check the fake notes and the authentic notes. The five thousand kyat notes could be checked by sensing the word Central Bank of Myanmar and the cash value by feeling with fingers. The genuine notes have a feeling of cut superficially, looking in upturn position one may find white elephant image and the wording five thousand, and that the silver security thread is partly unveiled and partly hidden.
The new five thousand notes are issued with color reflecting thread instead of normal silver color tread, and they are covered with varnish.
The recent fake notes of ten thousand denominations are the old types. Real notes could be checked on the word Central Bank of Myanmar and the word five thousand that have the feel of cut superficially. When checking at upturn position, one may find the word CBM, and the security thread is half unveiled and half hidden, reflecting with the reddish and green colors. The notes are varnished.
Question: We heard that the fake currency notes are being punched and perforated. Please explain.
DDG: The people usually avoid appearing before the law courts and also afraid of confronting legal cases. The banks normally do not want to annoy the customers, and also worried in loosing clients. When the bank customarily torn the notes, punched and perforated the currency, then the people generally and commonly forget that the issue of fake notes are actually in the purview of police jurisdiction. They never handed over the fake notes to the police stations, resulting with the difficulty on the part of the police force to investigate the root cause and the source of the wrong doers. The fake notes are in circulations among the public and the situation is leading to problem to the public.
Question: Is there any instruction from the bank.
DDG: We have definite instruction being issued for the public. The bank employees have to explain the customers about the fake notes and that it needs to fill up the form accordingly. Eventually, the case is to be reported to the police station and also informed to the Central Bank.
Question: When a citizen received a fake ten thousand note, he is sure to keep up in suffering and aggrieved for the loss of ten thousand kyat. What is the solution for that matter?
DDG: I would like to explain about the suffering and loss. The Central Bank has the responsibility and accountability only on the legal tender notes that we have issued. The Central Bank may have no responsibility whatsoever on the fake notes. A person must check before taking the notes into one own hand.
When the new legal tender notes are being issued, the detailed features are already clarified to the public. When a person received a fake note, then the public must cooperate with the law enforcement personnel, and on the part of the police, they must treat the people with receptive ways. This is the best way and solution not to let the people suffer.
Question: Please explain the ways and means in containing and stopping the fake notes.
Deputy Governor: Legal tender notes are always in the circulation. The first point is to contain and control with the law, and the second point is to issue legal tender notes in high security systems. Another point is to inform the public how to examine the notes and lastly to uncover the source of the fake notes and arrest the culprits. In this way we could contain and control the issue of fake notes. We have issued the notes with quality materials, and that the fake notes easily become frayed. The genuine notes are neat and durable. Normally, the small tread on the note is done with micro print. The genuine notes and the fake notes could differentiate in many ways.
Question: The public has less awareness about legal tender notes.
DDG: On the part of the Central Bank, we are indeed lacked in disseminating information. However, when the currency notes were issued; we informed all the security aspects to the public. We need to consider the information must not alarm the public. Another factor is to find out the source of fake currency makers with the cooperation of law enforcement agencies.
Question: Is there any solution to remedy the loss on the part of the person who got the fake note.
Deputy Governor: One must check the situation before the fake note comes into the hand, and also think about the consequences with regards to the fake notes. If the ten thousand kyat fake notes are spreading among the public, then it may have the negative effect to the country, resulting with the lack of trust by the public towards the nation. Spending the fake notes is tantamount to smearing the image of the nation. People may be troubled by the uncertainty caused by fake notes in circulation, but collective effort is needed to tackle the issue of counterfeit currency.
The money in circulation across the world is faked in many countries, and that it becomes as super note, resulting with the issuance of new type currency.
One may lose the cash value; however, not to lose faith in the nation is more important. Another factor is to reduce spending currency notes and should shift to mobile banking. Moreover, the public is required to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies.
Question: Please explain the handling procedure on counterfeit notes in foreign countries.
Deputy Governor: Counterfeit notes may have the consequences of criminal act and therefore, it is best to entrust the fake notes into the hand of police force. When we received the different foreign currencies, we transfer back to the foreign countries to get back the value in cash. We examine the notes with device as well as by hand. When their side found the fake notes, we failed to get the cash value.
In Singapore, they handed the fake notes to the police, and it is the international practice.
Question: Any more information for the public on the currency matters.
Deputy Governor: Spending through the banks, using mobile banking system and credit and debit card system would bring down the physical counting of bulky cash system, benefiting with more time to examine the legal tender notes. If and when the public saw the fake notes in hand, one should hand them over to the authorities, and in this way we would be able to uncover the source of culprits.
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)