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Child will reportedly have a record until 2032 after asking in shop if he could use fake euros
By Agence France-Presse & The Guardian
Swiss police have investigated an eight-year-old boy after he allegedly asked whether he could use a toy banknote in a village shop.
The fake euro note was Chinese joss paper “spirit money” – used as symbolic burnt offerings at funerals to ensure the dead have a happy afterlife, according to the Basler Zeitung (BaZ) newspaper.
The unnamed boy was not charged with any offence but his name will reportedly be on police records until May 2032.
The pretend euros had been distributed in early March at the Sissach town carnival in the northern Basel-Landschaft region, where Swiss francs are the official currency. The notes, printed on ordinary paper and featuring blue Chinese characters, were picked up by children, said the BaZ.
At the end of April, the boy, his 10-year-old brother and the girl next door went to their local village shop in nearby Dietgen, where the younger brother asked if he could use the note, the report said.
Even though the note was clearly identified as pretend money, shop staff felt obliged to call the police. “It is our policy; we were instructed to do so by the headquarters in Winterthur,” BaZ quoted store manager Tanja Baumann as saying.
On 28 May, the police contacted the boy’s parents and visited their home for three hours the following day.
They brought along stills from surveillance footage, including one of the boy and the girl standing at the till, the report said.
A spokesman for the Basel-Landschaft police said: “We were informed that children with a bundle of counterfeit euro notes tried to buy goods. There was therefore suspicion of counterfeit money being put into circulation.”
He said the investigating officer had to determine whether the fake money was used deliberately and whether the children were punishable by law.
The brothers had mug shots taken, said the BaZ.
And their house was searched for further toy money: three 50-euro notes, two 20-euro notes, five 10-euro notes and three five-euro notes were seized on the grounds of preventing crime, it reported.