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NIS warns of scams with old North Korean cash

June 22,2018
South Korea’s spy agency warned the public on Thursday about overseas fraud schemes involving defunct North Korean money.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said crime rings in China and Southeast Asia have secured massive amounts of old North Korean bills and are trying to sell them on the premise that their value will jump once North Korea denuclearizes and its economy develops.

Most of the bills were issued before the North’s currency reforms in 2009 and are no longer in use, according to the NIS.

The crime rings have been offering the money at 30 to 40 percent cheaper than current prices. One group in Thailand was caught selling 5 million won ($4,500) worth of such bills. A South Korean businessman there received an offer from a local to buy 2 billion won worth of bills. Similar cases were reported in other countries, too, largely in Southeast Asia, the NIS said.

South Koreans are mostly negative about possessing North Korean money, but chances are high that international crime rings have their eyes on Korean residents as targets, the NIS warned. The agency plans to post warnings on websites of South Korean diplomatic missions.

Yonhap