According to a recent report by state media, 96.7% of all counterfeit bills circulating in China originated from templates hand-drawn by Peng Daxiang, an elderly painter who was arrested in 2013.
Before being apprehended by police, 73-year-old Daxiang, a native of Shantou, Guangdong Province, had single-handedly managed to produce dozens of printing plates worth millions of yuan without the use of computers or other modern technology. Instead, he relied on simple tools like magnifying glasses and film cameras. He apparently made huge profits selling these templates to counterfeiting gangs, charging anywhere between 50,000 yuan ($8,000) and 120,000 yuan ($20,000) per plate.
Officials later discovered that Daxiang, a famous artist in his hometown, was also involved in forging graduate diplomas, official certificates and even food stamps. He was finally sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014, by the Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, on multiple charges including counterfeiting money and forging official documents. All of his possessions were confiscated by the state and he was deprived of political rights for life.