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The Hong Leong Bank Fake Notes Story Clarified

The Hong Leong Bank Fake Notes Story

Hong Leong Bank is trending on social media, but for the wrong reasons. People are trying to find out whether it’s true that they issued fake notes to their customers. This is our coverage of the Hong Leong Bank fake notes story. We will add more information as we get them.


The Hong Leong Bank Fake Notes Story

On 25 April 2017, a Hong Leong Bank customer wanted to withdraw RM 40,000 from her account. As this is a large sum, it’s done over-the-counter. She later discovered that there were five fake-looking RM 100 notes inside the stacks of bank notes she received.

She rushed back to the bank with the five “fake notes” to confront the Hong Leong Bank staff. To their credit, they immediately apologised and exchanged the “fake notes” for the real ones.


Hong Leong Bank’s Official Statement

Due to the great public interest in the incident, Hong Leong Bank issued a statement the next day :


Kuala Lumpur, 26 April 2017 – Hong Leong Bank Berhad (“HLB” or “the Bank”) confirms that the mutilated notes issued over the counter to a customer in the incident at the Salak South Branch, Kuala Lumpur on 25 April 2017 are genuine.

The mutilated notes were inadvertently mixed with notes that were in good condition and handed over to the customer when they should have been removed from circulation.

HLB regrets the occurrence of the incident.


Mutilated, Not Fake Notes New!

Many people on social media are still claiming that these are fake notes. That’s not true. As Hong Leong Bank explained, they are mutilated notes. Mutilated notes are genuine notes that have been damaged by contact with “water, oil, paint, ink or similar substances”.  Parts of the note may even have gone missing.

Bank Negara requires banks like HLB to receive and exchange these mutilated notes for new notes. In fact, here are the guidelines for the replacement of such notes :

  • Full value should be awarded to any piece of note which is more than two-thirds (2/3) in size of the original note or;
  • Half value should be awarded to any piece ofnotewhichismorethanhalf (1/2) but less than two-thirds (2/3) in size of the original note or;
  • No value should be awarded to any piece of note which is less than half (1/2) in size of the original note.

In short, those “fake notes” that Hong Leong Bank issued to the customer on 25 April were genuine notes. They were just mutilated, so they remain legal tender.

If you have such mutilated notes in your possession, you can exchange them at any bank for proper banknotes. In the case of the HLB customer, there is no doubt that she can get those five “fake notes” exchanged at the same HLB branch, or any branch of any bank.


Share & Warn Everyone!

This may have been an honest mistake by the bank staff, but there is a real lesson to be learnt here. ALWAYS CHECK the money you receive at the bank BEFORE you leave!

While the bank are certainly required to receive and exchange mutilated notes, the hassle of returning to the bank can be avoided by checking the notes before leaving.



We would like to thank our reader Sabrina LY Tan for alerting us to this issue! And thanks to Fight Crime with Awareness for covering the story too.


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