Police in Beijing's Shunyi Township have seized thousands of fake documents and seals and arrested more than 20 people suspected of being involved in their production. Police found 2,400 fake government, university and industry seals, more than 6,800 identity cards, residence permits, management badges and more than 10,000 blank seals, the Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday. Among the items seized were seals from the Foreign Ministry, Beijing City government and various police precincts. There were also forged degrees from Tsinghua and Beijing universities, and fake marriage, divorce, work and construction permits. Forged seals and licences - sold on the black market - are often blamed for fuelling crime around the country, the report said. At only a nominal cost, ordinary citizens are able to purchase university degrees, work credentials and avoid bureaucratic wrangling, it said. 'This is definitely a mark of black society, where [forgers] secretly organise, commit illegal activities and then make ordinary people look like they are powerful players,' said Zhang Ming, the Shunyi police precinct's deputy chief. The forgeries are usually replicated with lasers and computers and take between three and 10 minutes to produce. About 80 per cent of the seals were copies of those from Beijing's most important official institutions and industries. According to the report, seals sell for between 30 and 50 yuan (HK$28 and HK$47) each while diplomas cost approximately 100 yuan. A degree from a prestigious university can cost as little as 800 yuan. Police first arrested five suspects on February 25. The newspaper said another 19 were arrested later, while Xinhua said only 17 additional suspects had been detained.