The origin of 97 percent of counterfeit banknotes in China have reportedly been traced back to a humble elderly painter in Shantou, Guangdong province.
The 73-year-old painter, who goes by the name Peng Daxiang, is a renowned artist in his hometown where he painted identical templates from which the banknotes were forged.
According to The Telegraph, of all the fake banknotes seized by China’s ministry of public security in recent years, 96.7 percent of the circulated notes originated from templates drawn by Peng.
In fact, the artist was so skilled that he created the templates for the fake 100 yuan notes without the assistance of a computer.
In China, the counterfeiting is only becoming more and more problematic. The motivation to produce counterfeit notes is growing due to the huge profit that can be gained. In Guangdong province last year, authorities discovered that in one week alone, criminals could make 100 million yuan (£11 million) worth of counterfeit money by working around the clock.
Peng was able to earn huge profits by selling his templates for between 50,000 yuan and 120,000 yuan to local counterfeiting gangs.
As printer technology continues to advance rapidly in China, it is becoming even more easy to produce counterfeit banknotes.
Besides Peng’s templates for fake currency, the elderly painter was also charged for forging other “official” certificates and even graduation diplomas.
Following his arrest in 2013, he is now serving a life sentence in prison.
Just another case proving that you can’t can always fake it ’till you make it.
By Freya Twigden