A Paphos judge has ordered five people remanded in custody for six days after police prosecutors said the group was suspected of looting and trying to pass fake bills.
Five Indian nationals were arrested this week after a supermarket owner called the police, saying the suspects attempted to pay for goods using counterfeit money.
Police did not issue an official report and declined to comment further on the case, telling Knews all five individuals were arrested on conspiracy charges, looting by petty theft, and circulation of counterfeit money.
The use or attempted use of counterfeits is an offence in Cyprus if the act is carried out knowingly and with intent, punishable with up to 15 years in prison
Local reports said the supermarket owner became suspicious of the five customers and asked them to remain on the premises to wait for officers to arrive, with police spokesperson Christos Andreou later telling the media that the five individuals, three men and two women in their early and mid 20’s, left the store.
Police later tracked down and arrested a 26-year-old Indian male who confirmed he had used a total of seven €10 bills at two different locations, including a mini market, telling officers he had no knowledge he was holding fake bills.
According to Ant1, the suspect said he received the money after selling a phone to another person from India, but reiterated he did not know the bills were fake.
Police later arrested four other suspects, two males and two females, who all denied any wrongdoing, with a press officer telling Knews all five suspects were arrested on suspicion of committing the same offences.
The use or attempted use of counterfeit money is an offence in the Republic of Cyprus if the act is carried out knowingly and with intent, punishable with up to 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors secured the remand of all five suspects after telling a Paphos district judge they had evidence that the two men and three women were involved in the offences.
Authorities have issued a warning for the public to be extra careful when dealing with cash, while the European Central Bank has previously advised the public to use the technique of ‘feel, look and tilt’ as a method for identifying counterfeit notes.
While counterfeits have been on the rise recently, experts say the chances of coming across a counterfeit note in Europe is exceedingly rare while technological printing methods have made finding counterfeit euro notes easier.