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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 13th, 2007 at 6:03 am

Tracking the North Korean Supernote

» by in: North Korea

This article from the Asia Sentinel is a must read for anyone remotely interested in the North Korean counterfeiting of US currency. The reporters travel to China to see if they find North Korean supernotes. This is what they found:

These days there is also a reasonable facsimile of another famous American crossing the river in the opposite direction  Benjamin Franklin. If you’ve got the connections here, and they aren’t hard to find, you can easily encounter Franklin’s enigmatic face for about US$50 on a reasonable copy of a US $100 bill. These presumably Pyongyang-printed Big-Head Benjamins are known worldwide as “supernotes.

We know. We bought one.

So where did these reporters buy these supernotes, right in the open of course:

Our supernote purchase  $100, US Series 2003, serial number DI03120777A (acquired strictly for purposes of this story) took place literally within the shadow of the China Bank of Communications. The bank is directly across the street from the Dandong office of China Customs, which in turn is next to a People’s Liberation Army facility as is the Dandong Police headquarters. Coincidentally, the transaction also took place on the afternoon of Kim’s 65th birthday, February 16.

So where did the supernotes come from you may ask?:

At first he said he got them accidentally from various foreign tourists who were changing them for yuan. Were the tourists from North Korea? He shrugged and smiled and said perhaps some had relatives or friends over there across the mighty Yalu. But after asking if he could sell one or two more, he quickly left on his bicycle after taking a brief mobile phone call.

Make sure you read the whole article, very interesting read about this illegal activity happening quite openly in China with little effort by Chinese authorities to stop it. Maybe it is time someone starts printing Chinese yuan to start spreading around and see how the Chinese government likes that.

HT: Simon World

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  • OneFreeKorea » Breaking the Bank in Macau
    1:17 am on March 15th, 2007 1

    [...] The last question here is why Treasury decided to go medieval when State appears to have so badly wanted it not to.  In particular, many conservatives objected to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s nomination because he is allegedly too pro-Chinese (he’s now destroyed one of their banks).  Several possibilities occur to me.  One is that there is a coordinated Mutt-and-Jeff show here, in which State tries to look like the good guy for cosmetic purposes, while Treasury applies its wrecking ball.  After all, no serious person really expects us to put up with having our currency counterfeited.  Another speculative explanation is simpler, and to one who has worked in government, more plausible:  State pushed Treasury to let up on Banco Delta, Treasury saw itself as protecting America’s single most important material asset and pushed back, a bureaucratic conflict opened up, and Treasury decided to give State the middle finger.  A third possibility is that Treasury found so much compelling evidence of BDA’s culpability that it felt it had no choice but to ban BDA from holding correspondent accounts.  Finally, the fact that it’s this easy to buy “supernotes” right across the street from Dandong’s customs office suggests that a strong message was necessary (ht:  GI Korea). [...]

  • Justin Mitchell
    6:39 am on March 15th, 2007 2

    Thanks for the tip and the link, GI. (I was a GI once upon a time in a land far, far away … Camp George, Taegu; Camp Casey, 2nd Inf. Div. '72-'74)

    BTW, outstanding blog you've got going here, troop.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:57 am on March 15th, 2007 3

    Justin, thanks for the compliment and I hope you keep visiting the site.

  • Mudville Gazette
    6:14 pm on May 9th, 2007 4

    [...] Tracking the North Korean Supernote — [GI Korea] This article from the Asia Sentinel is a must read for anyone remotely interested in the North Korean counterfeiting of US currency. The reporters travel to China to see if they find North Korean supernotes. This is what they found: [...]

  • north korean supernotes - Web - WebCrawler
    3:57 am on September 21st, 2007 5

    [...] Results: 41 – 60 of 72 (About Results) < Prev 1|2|3|4 Next > 41. Tracking the North Korean Supernote at ROK Drop … in the North Korean counterfeiting of US currency. The reporters travel to China to see [...]

  • What is the real story behind the supernotes? | DPRK Forum
    1:30 pm on January 11th, 2008 6

    [...] http://rokdrop.com/2007/03/13/tracking-the-north-korean-supernote/ [...]

  • OneFreeKorea » Kevin G. Hall’s Counterfeit Journalism
    12:36 pm on January 15th, 2008 7

    [...] Another worthwhile read, from Justin Mitchell and Catherine Jiang, is “Tracking the North Korean Supernote“ in the Asia Sentinel (Hat tip to GI Korea).  [...]

  • OneFreeKorea » Kevin G. Hall’s Counterfeit Journalism (Updated)
    11:07 pm on January 25th, 2008 8

    [...] Another worthwhile read, from Justin Mitchell and Catherine Jiang, is “Tracking the North Korean Supernote“ in the Asia Sentinel (Hat tip to GI Korea).  [...]

  • Geumgang Resort Used to Launder Counterfeit US Currency
    10:07 pm on October 6th, 2008 9

    [...] Korea has long been a source of some of the best counterfeit US bills in the world.  Their counterfeiting activities nearly derailed the six party nuclear talks until the US State [...]

  • War of Words Over Propaganda Leaflets Escalates
    4:11 am on October 28th, 2008 10

    [...] The latest leaflets to draw the North Korean’s anger were sent by the group, Fighters for Free North Korea and U.S. conservative activist Suzanne Scholte. With the leaflets they also included US dollar bills and Chinese Yuan. Those dollar bills are probably the only US currency in North Korea that is legit. [...]

 

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