The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has promised to shorten waiting times for applications to use banknotes as film props, according to a film industry veteran who met with the city’s de facto central bank.

Earlier this month, two film industry workers were given suspended sentences after being convicted of possessing some 200,000 fake banknotes labelled “props”, which were used in the award-winning crime thriller Trivisa.

The ruling sparked an outcry in the industry, as many said they were unaware of the legal requirement whereby they had to seek permission from the HKMA before filming.

The prop money in question.

Hong Kong Televisioners Association Chair Tsui Siu-ming met with the HKMA and the police on Tuesday to discuss how to improve the procedures and requirements.

He said the atmosphere of the meeting was good, and the HKMA had clarified the relevant application requirements. They include guidelines whereby props must be 20 per cent smaller than real banknotes and they have to be destroyed after use.

Tsui said the HKMA promised to shorten the approval time, issue a simple, standard form for applications, and issue a set of guidelines.

Tsui Siu-ming.

Tsui said the industry welcomed the new arrangements and will meet with the HKMA again to discuss details.

Lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok, who represents the cultural sector, said the industry hoped that the laws can be clear and easy to follow.

Ma Fung-kwok. File Photo:

He said many – especially those who are young – may not have knowledge of the law. Others may know about it, but may choose not to apply because the application may take too long or the quantity of banknotes needed may not be approved.

“In the long term, the government need[s] to review whether there is a necessity to implement new requirements,” Ma said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.