Wednesday, 04. March 2015
09. 06. 14. - 16:45
A Chinese man has been jailed for two years after he made a mint by taking coins imported from abroad that were due to be recycled and cleaning them up before selling them back to the country or region.
Across the world damage coins are routinely taken out of circulation and then sold on to scrap metal dealers but although these are supposed to be shredded before being sold on, in many cases they are simply handed over whole to Chinese scrap metal dealers.
Once in China, instead of being melted down these coins were cleaned up and then sold back to the country of origin at a vast profit.
Chinese officials have refused to say which countries the coins were taken from but have confirmed they were cleaned up and sold back by Wang Chuwei, 57, at the Ruohen Township in the city of Wenling in eastern China's Zhejiang Province. They said that the total value of the coinage was well over 700,000 GBP, but that Wang had not realised what he was doing was illegal.
Police spokesman Guo Kao said: "In total he purchased 10 tons of old foreign coins but instead of melting down he simply cleaned them up and sold them on.
"Business for him was so good that even took on other members of his family including his brother-in-law Liang Enmei, an antique dealer in Shanghai, to help recycle the coins and send them back to the coins' original countries. Liang, who was well aware that what he was doing was illegal, was sentenced to six years in jail.
The pair were found guilty of "illegally buying and selling foreign currency", although Wang was not directly involved in the selling.
The problem however of recycling coins which are supposed to be scrapped is bigger than just this operation. Also in Zhejiang province, a group of three people involved in a similar business were earlier variously sentenced to nine years, eight years and nine months, and seven years and nine months in jail, for recycling and selling foreign coins worth 130 million yuan (12 million GBP).
And in another case, one and two euro coins in bi-metal designs that were just separated into an inner core and an outer ring and then sold to Chinese scrap metal dealers were put back together by the Chinese gang, and sold back to a German bank at face value.
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