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Indonesian authorities respond to viral “mutilated money” concerns

A viral video in Indonesia has raised alarms about “mutilated money” worth Rp 100,000 (about US$7). These notes comprise a mix of real and counterfeit currency.

Bank Indonesia officials have confirmed its existence and emphasized its illegality, as it intentionally damages the nation’s currency.



INDONESIA – In a recent viral video on Indonesian social media platforms, concerns about “mutilated money” with a face value of Rp 100,000 (approximately US$7) have been brought to the forefront.

This phenomenon involves currency notes that consist of half genuine banknotes and half counterfeit replicas produced by a printer.

The video, posted on Saturday (9 Sep), claims that such currency, referred to as “mutilated money,” is not accepted by banks due to its altered nature.

The key feature of these mutilated banknotes, as shown in the circulating video, is the significant difference in the serial numbers between the two halves.

As of Tuesday (12 Sept), the video has garnered dozens of comments from netizens and received 956 likes on social media platform X, often compared to Twitter.

“In situations like this, small businesses might suffer. Please BI, let’s hope for more education,” commented @djadjasfa***.

“Be cashless,” added @argahuta**.

“Is it possible for this mutilated money to pass if deposited in cash deposit ATMs? If it can pass, it’s very dangerous,” wrote @missami**.

Bank Indonesia official acknowledges the existence of mutilated money in the region

Rony Hartawan, the Head of the Bank Indonesia Representative Office in Purwokerto, Central Java, confirmed the existence of mutilated money in the region.

However, he clarified that the occurrence was not widespread, with only one or two cases reported, as reported by Harian Kompas.

Rony emphasized that mutilated money cannot be used as a means of exchange since it falls under the category of damaged currency.

Furthermore, Rony explained that mutilated money categorized as damaged currency can be exchanged for new banknotes, provided that the physical size of the paper currency is larger than two-thirds of its original dimensions, and its authenticity can be verified.

However, in the case of mutilated money, where the serial numbers on the two halves do not match, they cannot be replaced.

Bank Indonesia’s communication director urges vigilance against illegal circulation of mutilated money

Erwin Haryono, the Executive Director of the Communication Department at Bank Indonesia, as reported by Media Indonesia on Monday (11 Sept), underscored that the circulation of mutilated money is illegal and intentionally damages the country’s currency.

Nevertheless, individuals who accidentally receive mutilated money are urged to seek clarification at their nearest Bank Indonesia branch and can exchange it if certain criteria are met.

This includes being able to verify its authenticity, with a minimum of 50 per cent recognition, to prevent misuse by unscrupulous individuals.

Erwin also encouraged the public to pay attention to the design of Indonesian rupiah banknotes, advising that they adhere to the “5 Do Nots“: do not fold, do not deface, do not wet, do not crumple, and do not staple. Well-maintained rupiah notes are easier for the public to recognize and validate.

Highlighting the significance of the rupiah as a symbol of national sovereignty, Erwin stated that cherishing the currency equates to loving Indonesia, and taking pride in the rupiah is akin to safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty. Understanding the rupiah is a way of preserving Indonesia’s economic stability.

Erwin warned that the act of mutilating Rp100,000 banknotes by combining one genuine part with another suspected to be counterfeit can be classified as a criminal offence.

Those found guilty may face legal consequences under Article 25 of Law Number 7 of 2011 concerning Currency, which stipulates imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to Rp1 billion (approximately US$65,200) for anyone who buys or sells damaged, cut, destroyed, and/or altered rupiah.

Identifying features of mutilated money include visibly joined sections, differences in color between the two joined halves, and visible seams on the mutilated banknotes.

Government and Bank Indonesia urged to escalate awareness campaigns amid mutilated money concerns

In response to the growing concerns among the public regarding the circulation of mutilated money, Puan Maharani, Chairperson of the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly (DPR RI), urged the government to intensify education efforts to help citizens differentiate between genuine and counterfeit currency.

She stressed the importance of raising awareness about identifying authentic currency and how to report instances of accidentally receiving mutilated money.

Puan also called upon Bank Indonesia to increase public awareness campaigns regarding the circulation of mutilated money.

She encouraged the authorities to launch more aggressive information campaigns to enhance public awareness and vigilance.

Additionally, Puan urged citizens to actively cooperate with authorities to combat the circulation of counterfeit money, emphasizing that such cooperation could help eradicate counterfeit currency within the community.

She implored the public to promptly report any suspicious currency to the nearest Bank Indonesia office or the police.

Puan concluded by highlighting the serious nature of counterfeit currency circulation, expressing concern about its potential to harm the public and tarnish the country’s reputation.

Counterfeit money not only poses financial risks but also threatens the integrity of the nation’s currency and erodes trust in Indonesia’s banking and financial systems.

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