GUANGZHOU, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Four men have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 12 years in two separate cases over producing or spending fake Chinese currency.
Li Jiahao, 45, a native of Guangdong Province in southern China, was convicted of initiating and investing in making fake money safety strips - a line on both sides of the currency that proves its authenticity - along with some other technologies.
Li received a 12-year jail term and was fined 150,000 yuan (nearly 22,000 U.S. dollars) for making the strips, according to the verdict handed down by the Zhanjiang Municipal Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong Province on Jan. 13.
Li's collaborator Wei Xuefeng, 30, a native of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, received 10 years imprisonment for printing the safety strips and was fined 100,000 yuan.
Pang Daning, 23, also a native of Guangxi, was found guilty of transporting materials to Wei to make the strips and was ordered to serve two years in jail and fined 20,000 yuan.
Court investigation showed that the safety strips made by them could be used to print fake currency with a total face value of 174 million yuan (over 25 million U.S. dollars).
Another court in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on Jan. 5 ordered a migrant worker to serve three months in prison and pay 10,000 yuan for using counterfeit currency.
The Qianjiang District People's Court found that Zou Hongping, 33, from Hubei Province, had bought 70 counterfeit 100-yuan notes at a price of 15 yuan each in Fujian Province in March last year.
Zou intentionally bought cigarettes many times with the fake notes in order to launder the fake money into real money in Qianjiang district last October. He was caught by a cigar vendor on Oct. 24.
Police confiscated about 60 fake banknotes in his possession.
All the fake money Zou used and owned carried the same serial number started with "HD90" and was the latest version of counterfeit money that has aroused great public attention across the country, according to the local branch of the People's Bank of China.
According to Chinese law, a person can face no more than three years in prison if convicted of intentionally holding or using counterfeit money and/or be fined up to 100,000 yuan. Transporting fake banknotes totaling more than 200,000 yuan could earn a person life imprisonment.
Fake 100-yuan banknotes, most starting with serial number "HD90", have been reported in more than ten Chinese provinces and cities, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The central bank had denied reports that HD-series fake notes have high quality as they bear obvious distinctions and it is not hard to tell them from the authentic ones with the naked eye or by touch.
All ATMs and the detectors of commercial banks can spot the fake banknotes, the central bank said, stressing that it is safe to deposit or withdraw yuan bank notes through banks.