April 23, 2010 08:40
Counterfeit US$100 notes printed in North Korea are widely circulated in the North Korea-China border area, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday. The U.S. Treasury Department earlier announced a plan to print newly designed $100 notes with more anti-counterfeit solutions.
The so-called "supernotes" have been spotted in large quantity in border towns such as Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province. Amid rumors in mid-January that the U.S. will print new $100 bills, a department charged with operations against the South in the North Korean Workers' Party and the Army's Reconnaissance Bureau apparently released their stockpiles of the fakes to get rid of inventory, RFA quoted North Korean sources as saying.
A source told RFA that Kim Yong-chol, the director of the Reconnaissance Bureau, ordered the release of the fakes. The source said it appears that the bureau enjoys the trust of North Korean Kim Jong-il's son and heir apparent Jong-un and may have been aiming to raise a "loyalty fund."
Kim Yong-chol has also recently been fingered as the mastermind behind a recent assassination plot against Hwang Jang-yop, a former secretary of the Workers' Party Central Committee who defected to the South in 1997, as well as behind the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26.
The North Korean regime has spread misinformation that the fake dollars are distributed by Chinese tourists, RFA added.
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