Deep pockets can buy fakes and bona fides

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

Do you fancy a mainland college diploma? Identity card? Or a military vehicle licence plate?

If your pockets are deep enough, you can pretty much buy any counterfeit item you want on the mainland, said a source familiar with the 'fake-making' business.

'If you want only a counterfeit university diploma, you can get one for about 80 yuan,' the source said.

And the bona fide ones - those issued by legitimate authorities - have become even more expensive since the problem came to the attention of the authorities.

In recent years, a number of university professors have been exposed as having forged their academic qualifications.

'If you want a diploma issued by colleges like Shenzhen University and want those people to verify it on the internet, you may have to pay more than 100,000 yuan now.

'You can no longer buy a diploma from top schools like Peking and Tsinghua universities on the black market these days, unless you have connections with people at these schools and you are prepared to pay a large sum of money,' the source said.

In cities such as Shenzhen, it was common to receive phone messages advertising the availability of fake papers such as identity cards for 80 yuan.

Liang Qidong , an expert from the Academy of Social Sciences in Liaoning province , was quoted by the Southern Metropolis News as saying the reason the mainland was flooded with fake documents was that it lacked a credible verification system and the fakes were so cheap to make. He also noted Beijing had not implemented effective penalties against counterfeit document manufacturers.

Military licence plates - both real and fake - are popular. Traffic police are often reluctant to pull over cars bearing military licence plates for fear of stepping on the toes of powerful military leaders.