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March 26, 2011

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Forgers jailed for residence card scam

THREE forgers yesterday received sentences ranging from nine months to one year in prison for producing fake documents for Shanghai Residence card applications.

They made 155,000 yuan (US$23,619) from the illegal business, Baoshan District People's Court said.

It is relatively difficult to get a residence card, which attracts out-of-town professionals to Shanghai but has high-level requirements.

This leads to an underground market selling and forging permits and related documents.

The trio , Zhang Liang, Ni Huajun and Gu Cheng, opened an education consulting company in 2008, said the court.

But business was so bad that they bought fake college, marriage and birth certifications, forged them again and sent them to the city human resources service center for clients.

By 2009 they had acquired the genuine permits for six people, according to the court.

Shanghai Daily has discovered it's still easy to find agencies that claim online that they can acquire permits.

One shady agency said they can fix everything up for 50,000 yuan.

"And you do not even need to have a job, certification or living place," claimed the agency.

The city human resources authority said in most cases college certification and a stable job are required, though people who bring large investment can also apply.

At present, most non-locals hold a card which secures them social welfare benefits, such as medical insurance and children's education, in the city. But the card has to be renewed on an annual or three-year basis.

In 2009, Shanghai became the first large city in China to allow card holders who had stayed in the city for more than seven years to apply for hukou, or the permanent resident permit.


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