Phony ‘supernotes’ from North Korea make a comeback

(From Korea JoongAng Daily)

Following initial reports last week that a North Korean agent was arrested in the border city of Dandong in Liaoning Province, northeastern China, multiple sources confirmed Wednesday that the official had been involved in distributing counterfeit U.S. dollars.

bill77After years of circulating counterfeit $100 banknotes, North Korea’s so-called supernotes seemed to have disappeared in recent years. Pyongyang’s forged $100 bills, considered nearly flawless, were a major source of slush funds for the regime and date back to the 1970s. But a major crackdown by U.S. authorities and new security features on banknotes led to a decline in the trade.

The recent arrest indicates their possible resurgence.

One source familiar with Beijing-Pyongyang relations told the JoongAng Ilbo that the agent captured by Chinese officials earlier this month brought $5 million in cash into China from North Korea in order to make payments for household goods and home appliances.
These goods were supposedly distributed to the North Korean people during the April 15 celebration of the birthday of the country’s late founder, Kim Il Sung, as well as during its ruling Workers’ Party’s seventh congress held in early May, the first of its kind in nearly four decades. Read more

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