...it was many years ago.
Preamble... please read to the end...then smile:
A German customs officer based in Frankfurt Airport (FRA) dated a Flight Attendant also based at FRA.
The lady did regular China Flights.
The German federal bank is responsible for all currency and coins in Germany. It is also their responsibility to collect used coins back from circulation and replace these with new coins.
Collected coins were THEN devalued by snapping the Euro-insert inner pug out, and collecting the ring and insert separately until they had tons of them. Then they sold these separately to different scrap dealers across Germany and the EU. tons or inserts and rings.
the scrap dealers sold their scrap to Chinese buyers. It was all collected at some port city and all scrap was shipped to China to be melted and made into Chinese stuff of whatever..
Some smart Chinese person recognized a business here. They started to re-assemble the two coin parts in to perfect Euros
Nodody could ever tell the difference. So they got some attractive Chinese men and Ladies to aquaint with European Flight attendants. and it worked. the FA's took a few hundred each time back to Europe and got paid a nice amount.
As a rule, FA's and Pilots are less, or close to never scrutinized than regular travelers at customs. One day, the first-mentioned FA arrived back at FRA with a bit heavier bag. A friend of her customs boyfriend recognized her and helped her with her luggage.....it was unusually heavy. Questions were asked... and that is how the whole re-manufacturing -smuggle-euros ring was detected.
By sheer co-incident.(a friendly and helpful customs agent)
Now came the Legal question: what to charge everyone with? Smuggling? forging? or ?
As a result and missing laws for that, there were no charges laid. The import of legal currency under a certain amount does not have to be declared, regardless of coins or paper. Although confiscated at the time, The reassembled Euros were not declared to be forged currency by the courts and the Federal bank and no Forgery took place.
However, the import of re-assembled Euros was then effectively stopped.
and from now on the Fderal bank started to waffle their used coins
do we perhaps have a similar situation here, maybe in just another form?