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'Just fake it' is the motto of these firms
( 2003-08-29 10:01) (Shanghai Star)

The woman who called herself Yang Ping turned up on time at 2:00pm at the Pacific Shopping Centre on Huaihai Zhonglu to meet her client - the person who wanted a fake driving licence.

A China Daily reporter was the "client."

The "client" pays Yang 280 yuan (US$34) for the forged driving licence the next day.

Yang was alert to people around her and kept her eyes on those standing nearby. She is a woman in her 30s from Zhejiang Province.

"Usually we won't meet those who are not willing to leave their phone numbers. But you sounded good on the phone, so I came," she said.

Still glancing around, she said a group of people in her company specialized in making sure fake certificates were "true to life" and that their "quality" was assured.

The fake licence would be produced somewhere in the city and she promised to hand it over the next day. She asked for 350 yuan (US$42) but finally settled for 280 yuan (US$34) and the deal was done.

She also wanted some money as a deposit.

To have the fake driving licence made, Yang's company asks the client to give them one photo, their ID card number and an address.

Yang advised the China Daily reporter to have a licence from another province, not a Shanghai one.

"Most of my clients do this because local policemen are not familiar with the licences from other places and we are not good at making the magnetic card that a Shanghai licence has," she said.

There are two types of driving licences: one has a plastic cover with anti-fake label and is on paper in other provinces; Shanghai licences are magnetic cards which can record a driver's traffic infringements.

The fake licence turned up the next day.

True-to-life fakes

It didn't fool a traffic cop on duty in People's Square.

The "client" shows her forged driving licence and the business card of the company providing the fake certificates. [Shanghai Star]

"The first time you look at it, it looks real. However, if you look more carefully, you can find many faults," he said.

He said he had seen better fake licences than the one the reporter had produced for him.

Today the latest driving licences are made by computer so that the photo and seal of the police bureau are very clear.

However, on fake ones, the photo is not well defined and the seal is vague.

"If a driving licence is found to be fake, we can fine the offender at most 200 yuan (US$24) and we would take the drivers and their car back to our bureau," the policeman said.

However, some drivers have the trust-to-luck belief that a fake driving licence will help them avoid trouble.

"The police are not so strict and they seldom take away the cars - they only fine you and take away the licence," said Ye Bin, a local automobile driver.

"If they confiscate my fake licence when I break traffic regulations, I don't have to spend long hours to take a class to get it back and I don't have to pay the fines for the peccancy," he said.

If the real licence is taken away, the drivers can't use their cars for several days, which is very troublesome, Ye said.

Computer networks designed to record the background of drivers throughout the country are now being set up.

"Shanghai's network now can be connected to the general squads of traffic police in other provinces and by the end of the year the network will reach every county in China. It will be a big help in discovering fake licences," the on-duty cop said.

Fake-making firm

Yang Ping (right), a fake certificate provider, negotiates with a "client" about the price of a forged driving licence. [Shanghai Star]

China Daily's fake licence provider, Yang, had a business card giving her company's name as Huadong Shiye Co Ltd.

The company distributes many of its pink business cards on the streets.

Each of them has a list of all the different types of certificates and licences they can forge, including diplomatic cards, ID cards, invoices, marriage certificates, unmarried proof, divorce certificates, property certificates and almost any other licence one can think of.

The cards also say: "Please keep it just in case and introduce it to your friends." It was through one of the cards that China Daily first got in touch with Yang.

She was one of many employees the company has, according to one of Yang's colleagues whose name, cell phone and pager were printed on the cards.

This person, named Tang Fa, said the company has several bosses and each of them has some staff working under them.

The prices for a fake licence was negotiable and each person in the company would give a different price. For a diploma of a certain university, Tang said the price was 400 yuan (US$48). Yang's price was 250 yuan (US$30).

They said they could forge the diplomas of any domestic university.

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