Pakistan is also understood to be employing South East Asian nationals to avoid detection. A large cache of FICN was seized by Nepal police who arrested a Vietnamese woman who was carrying cash worth Rs 98 lakh at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. The money was apparently handed over to her at Vietnam that was neatly stuffed inside high-end liquor bottles and was given to her by middlemen working for Pakistani handlers.
The matter was exposed following a tip off from the Indian side. The Vietnamese woman had packed the liquor bottles in her suitcase and had even paid duty for liquor.
An intelligence official has been quoted as saying, “There is greater screening of passengers coming via Dubai or Bangladesh. One would generally not suspect a Vietnamese coming from her country to be carrying fake currency.”
The involvement of the underworld links in the fake currecy issue is also being probed. Gangster and underworld elements in Mumbai have set up base in various South East Asian nations, including notorious gangster Dawood Ibrahim. Based in Karachi, Dawood controls much of the $2.5 million FICN racket in India.
Another senior intelligence official commented, “Counterfeiters keep reinventing themselves. The racket had deliberately used a woman as a carrier to avoid suspicion. For instance, the Vietnamese woman had stuffed high-end liquor bottles with FICN and neatly packed them. She then paid the required duty on it which made it a legitimate consignment. That is why despite the consignment being in her check-in baggage no one in Vietnam or Bangkok suspected anything amiss with her luggage."
He added, "Recently agencies busted a racket in which fake currency was concealed in cigarettes. The accused had removed tobacco and rolled notes into the empty space."