HCMC men arrested for trying to smuggle counterfeit bills to Thailand

By Quoc Thang   November 10, 2023 | 01:00 am PT
HCMC men arrested for trying to smuggle counterfeit bills to Thailand
A suitcase full of black counterfeit U.S. dollar bills is found at HCMC's Tan Son Nhat Airport, September 2022. Photo courtesy of HCMC customs
Two people were arrested in HCMC for attempting to transport counterfeit bills that looked like over $1 million stacks from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Thailand.

Nguyen Khac Viet, 47, and Tran Cam Tu, 51, were recommended to be charged with transporting counterfeit money by HCMC police on Thursday.

An investigation revealed that in September 2021, Viet bought 12 black-colored stacks of U.S. dollars, with each stack containing 100 "$100" bills, from a man named Hung in a café in District 5 for VND30 million ($1,232). When Viet got home, he tried to wash the black away but failed, so he realized they were counterfeit money and stashed them away.

Investigators did not mention why Viet was willing to buy the stacks of fake money.

About a month later, when Tu came to Viet's house, Viet showed him the stacks of fake dollars and asked him for a place to sell them. The dollars had no serial number, so Tu realized they were fakes, and said he did not know anyone who would buy them.

In May 2022, Tu traveled to Cambodia and became acquainted with a Thai woman named Kim Hen, 60. Three months later, she came to Vietnam and invited Tu to a café in District 1. Kim then showed Tu a black $100 bill, similar to the ones Viet possessed, and asked Tu whether he knew if anyone would be willing to buy around 1,000 such bills ($100,000) for $5,000 of real money.

After the meeting, Tu told Viet that someone from Thailand wanted to buy the stacks of black money, but the money must be brought to Thailand for the transaction.

On Sept. 15, 2022, Tu called Kim Hen and asked to meet her at Bangkok airport. He and Viet put the fake money into two suitcases and made plans to go to Thailand.

However, customs officers at the Tan Son Nhat Airport became suspicious and discovered 10,518 black $100 bills. The officers initially thought the money was real, but later realized it was fake following analysis.

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