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CURRENCY

Malmö police: surge in number of fake notes in circulation

Police in Malmö and Lund have warned people to be wary after a record number of frauds using counterfeit 500 and 200 kronor notes.

Malmö police: surge in number of fake notes in circulation
Two years after Sweden released new 500 kronor notes, fakes are already in circulation. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
“People have to be extremely watchful about this,” Nils Norling from the Malmö Police told the Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
 
“Normally, you can see something about the note that doesn't look right. It doesn't have the same vibrance, or feels different from a normal note.” 
 
According to Malmö police, there have been 22 cases of fraud or attempted fraud using counterfeit currency in the first few weeks of this year. And in the nearby city of Lund, there were two similar frauds over the weekend in which people bought mobile phones secondhand using counterfeit notes. 

“Police suspect that more people may have been affected and that more are going to be affected because the buyers with counterfeit notes appeared to be in possession of more counterfeit notes than those they paid with,” Calle Persson, a police spokesperson, wrote in a statement published on Monday. 
 
According to Persson, the two victims had met buyers in person and taken payment in 500 kronor notes. They only discovered later that the notes were counterfeit. 
 
The current 500 kronor note, which features the opera singer Birgit Nilsson, was introduced in 2016. 
 
It has fibres spread across the note, which fluoresce under ultraviolet light, as well as a UV image of three crowns, a colour shifting image, a security thread, a security, a watermark, and intaglio print, all of which make printing a convincing counterfeit challenging. 
 
There were a total of 69 reports of counterfeit currency being used last year.  
 
In October last year, police in Malmö warned that fast food restaurants had reported customers attempting paying with fake 500 kronor notes. And in June, a supermarket reported three men for defrauding it of 3,000 kronor, after they visited it three times in the same day, each time making small purchases with fake 500 kronor notes and pocketing the change. 
 

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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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