Filmmakers Furious Over Prop-money Convictions

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2018-06-01 HKT 04:39

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  • The fake notes were used as movie props in several films. File photo: RTHK

    The fake notes were used as movie props in several films. File photo: RTHK

Local filmmakers have reacted angrily to a court ruling on Thursday in which two men were found guilty after fake cash used as film props was deemed counterfeit money.

The Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers called the case an "international joke". It issued a sharply worded statement saying that nowhere in the world has there ever been a similar instance. It said the ruling essentially forces the entire industry to give up on serious filmmaking.

“This is against the industry’s dedication to professionalism in filmmaking. The authorities’ took on a case that case was unjust. Members of the Hong Kong film industry are not only disappointed and furious, it also sends shivers down our spines.”

The prop money at the heart of the case was actually used in an award-winning production, Trivisa. In 2016, Law Yun-lam had borrowed some of the fake cash for a prank. Police found 10 thousand notes in his car, and later uncovered another 200-thousand at the workplace of Cheung Wai-chuen, who owns a film props company.

Both were convicted of possessing counterfeit cash, and handed suspended jail terms.

Eastern Court Magistrate Cheung Kit-yee said the notes looked very real and even though they had the word "prop" printed on them, people would have had to look very carefully to spot it.

She did accept that the defendants weren't planning to actually use the notes, but she said other people could have taken them to make illegal transactions.

And in another twist following the court ruling, the Standard newspaper has reported that the pair's defence counsel, Susanna Ku, said the case was initiated by the director of one of the films that that made use of the prop money.

She questioned why Ringo Lam, who made 2015's Wild City, was not prosecuted. According to the report, an officer from the commercial crime bureau said they are still investigating.