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New fake US$100 billion check caper

19 November 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

Another Filipino tourist is facing trial in District Court in Wanchai for allegedly presenting a fake check for US$100 billion in a Kowloon branch of Bank of China in November last year.

District Court in Wanchai.

Celerino L. Tinana appeared before Judge Eddie Yip on Nov 14 for the supposed start of his three-day trial for allegedly “using a false instrument” but the case was adjourned to Jan. 16 next year at the request of the prosecution.

The judge overruled the defence objection to the postponement, and extended Tinana’s bail.

Tinana, an elderly Ilocano, was arrested after he presented the check to a staff at the bank. Unknown to him, the police were alerted while he was waiting for the check to be verified.

Tinana became the latest in a growing number of Filipino tourists, many of them elderly, who have been arrested over the past two years on similar charges. Several have been convicted, three were acquitted, while the rest are still awaiting trial.

It is not clear whether the fake checks and other instruments came from the same source, or whether some or all of the accused, had known each other.

Just two days earlier, on Nov 12, Filipino-American woman Elena S. Orosa was sentenced to 30 months in jail by District Court Judge Charles Chan for trying to deposit a fake US$200 billion in a Hang Seng Bank branch in Tsimshatsui on Oct 18 last year.

Orosa was found guilty of a charge of “using a false instrument” after a three-day trial that began on Oct 10.

Another elderly tourist, Maria Ilao Gosilatar, will learn her fate at the next hearing of her case on Nov. 20 after prosecutors have indicated that there is a 50-50 chance that the case against her will be dropped.

Gosilatar, 76, has been in custody for nearly two years after she allegedly tried to cash  a fake US$50 million check at Hang Seng Bank.

Yet another elderly Filipino tourist, Brudencio Bolaños, will be tried on Jan 28-29 on a charge of “using a false instrument” for allegedly presenting a 35-year-old deposit slip for US$943 billion to HSBC headquarters in Central to update his account. He has been denied bail and is being held in Stanley Prison.

On Mar 4-6, Noel Rambuyon, 39, will be tried for allegedly attempting to cash US$50,000 worth of fake traveler’s checks at a money exchange in Central around the Lunar New Year this year.

He remains in custody and has not applied for bail.

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