By Echo Shiau, The China Post
Beginning from July 1, all old NT dollar bills issued by the Bank of Taiwan will officially be retired and the new NT dollar bills issued by the Central Bank of China (CBC) will become the only legal tender in Taiwan. All banknotes issued by the Bank of Taiwan with the face values of 1,000, 500, 100, and 50, as well as the single color nickel bronze 50 NT dollar coins will remain in circulation until June 30. If you still hold these banknotes and coins after June 30, you can redeem them for new notes at financial institutions around the island. This is the largest conversion of the NT dollar currency so far. The CBC has already requested all banks, post offices, cooperatives, and credit divisions of fishermen’s and agricultural associations to accept the old tender until the end of this year. Although financial institutions have agreed in principle to the CBC’s request, they are not obligated to exchange the old currency. According to a recent market survey, many of them will still suggest the customer to go to a Bank of Taiwan branch office to redeem their old currency. Otherwise, they will require the customer to deposit the amount into their savings accounts and then withdraw new cash from ATMs or over the counter. The Bank of Taiwan, however, will unconditionally exchange all old currency for an unlimited period of time. Since July 2000, the CBC has introduced a series of new paper currencies, including 1,000, 500, 100, and 200 NT dollar face value banknotes. A new NT$2,000 banknote will also be making its debut on July 1, making it the largest face value currency in circulation. The new, purple colored NT$2,000 banknote features the tracking radars for the ROCSAT-1 satellite on the front, and the central mountain range as well as the rare, indigenous land-locked Taiwan Salmon on the reverse side. Senior CBC officials explain that since the issuance of the NT$1,000 banknote in 1980, Taiwan’s national income has increased five fold, therefore leading the CBC to decide to issue the NT$2,000 notes. Two additional security features, the optical variable device and the metallic ink with the figure of 2000 embossed, have been incorporated in the new banknote. If the bills are tilted, the colors of the number 2000 and the tracking radars for the ROCSAT-1 will undergo changes, while the two sides of the rocket will show a metal sheen. All other anti-counterfeiting security features such as watermarks, optical variable ink, fluorescent fibers, microprint, fluorescent number, register, window thread, latent imaging, designation for blind people and intaglio are the same as the NT$1000, NT$500 and NT$100 banknotes in the new series. CBC officials claim that the new NT$2,000 banknote’s security features make it among the most advanced in the world, placing it in the same class as the Euro currency. However, if you do get hold of a counterfeit bill, you should report it to the police right away.
Currently, the punishment for counterfeiting is 5 years to life imprisonment, while intentionally using counterfeit currency is punishable with 3 ~to 7 years imprisonment plus fines up to NT$5,000. The CBC has also decided to raise the cash reward up to NT$1.5 million on tips leading to the arrest of counterfeiters. In addition, authorities are considering imposing the death penalty on those caught manufacturing or circulating false currency if authorities deem their crimes to be “grave threats” to the country’s economy and financial markets.