TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese police are bewildered by the country's latest counterfeiting trend: fake bills that cost more to make than their face value. Experts estimate that it cost 1,000 yen (73 yuan) to make each of the more than 400 bogus 1,000-yen notes that have turned up in vending machines in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, suggesting profit was not the motive, the Asahi newspaper's English-language edition reported Tuesday. "Police suspect a techno-maniac is involved," the Asahi said.
The phony bills are made by replacing the middle strip of genuine notes with a color photocopy, and securing them with tape. To the human eye they are obviously bogus, but they fool some older vending machines.