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Dealers of fake souvenir coins get prison terms

TWO men who sold fake souvenir coins marking the Year of Dragon were today sentenced one to eight months in prison and the other five months in detention at Shanghai Hongkou District People's Court. The court also fined the convicts, surnamed Huang and Chen, 20,000 yuan (US$3,155) each.

Prosecutors said Huang bought sevens sets of the fake coins from a street vendor in the city's downtown Huangpu District and sold five sets of them to Chen at 2,600 yuan per set.

Chen, 22, then sold three sets of the fake coins online at 3,000 yuan to 3,300 yuan each during February. Chen was caught on February 15 after the victims reported to police.

In court, the pair pleaded guilty and Chen asked for lenient sentence noting the fact that he was still a student.

"I started the business because I noticed commemorative coins are very popular and some have soared in value these days," Chen told the court.

The court said commemorative coins were also official currencies. Any dealing in counterfeits of the official commemorative currency is against law.

The souvenir coins marking the Year of Dragon were issued last October by the nation's central bank. Each set contains 15 coins including eight gold coins and seven silver coins in various shapes.


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