BBC News

Chinese tourists detained in Paris over one-euro coins

image captionFrench police found 3,700 one-euro coins in the Chinese tourists' hotel room

Two Chinese tourists have been briefly held in France on suspicion of forgery after trying to settle their hotel bill with one-euro coins.

Police were called in after a hotel owner in Paris became suspicious about the two men, and 3,700 one-euro coins were then found in their room.

But the coins were not counterfeit.

The men said they had got the money from scrapyard dealers in China, who often find forgotten euros in cars sent from Europe.

The hotel owner in Bagnolet, eastern Paris, called the police after the two tourists had tried again to pay their 70-euro (£59) hotel bill for the second night - just like they did the day before.

"Investigators suspected they were dealing with a case of forged currency," a source was quoted as saying by France's Le Parisien newspaper.

But banking experts checked the coins and confirmed that they were not fake.

It was later established that the two men - who have not been identified - had friends in the scrap metal trade in China and bought the coins from them.

Thousands of European cars are shipped to China for scrap every year.

They are meticulously searched before demolition - and it appears that the most common valuables left inside are one-euro coins.