A master degree can be bought for just VND18 million (USD872), with the fake document available in less than a week.
Forgers (R) negotiating with client
Several people have advertised services offering fake PhD and MA degrees that look as authentic as the real thing, and the counterfeiters are even happy to provide clients with free-of-charge notary services.
Under-cover investigative journalists responded to an advert offering fake qualifications, meeting a man called Kien, at a park on Hoang Van Thu Road, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
A woman identifying herself as Kien’s wife said, “We can make all kinds of fake papers from any university, they look just like the real thing, and we can throw in a notary service.”
According to Kien, it would take only four days for him to make a fake MA degree for just VND18 million (USD872).
In order to prove their counterfeiting skills, Kien and his wife were happy to show off a faked certificate.
“For a fake MA degree, you need to pay VND2 million (USD96.9) in advance, along with preparing two copies of your personal identification card and three 3x4 photos,” he said.
After negotiations, Kien’s wife collected the personal papers of the client, including full name, hometown, major, school name and time of graduation.
Another outlet for fake papers operates in Go Vap District’s Ward 11. Counterfeiter Long offered to create a MA in just five days for VND25 million (USD1,211).
Explaining his higher pricing, Long said, “I’m a prestigious counterfeiter. My phone number is available on online forums. I promise to hand over the documents on time.”
In the meantime, Phong and Nam lead another fake paper retailer in District 10.
Nam asked his client to pay VND1 million (USD48.5) in advance, for an VND18 million (USD872), fake MA degree.
Four days after our reporter made contact, Kien assigned a xe om driver to hand over the promised paper and claim the outstanding payment. The paper included a stamp identical to that found on official University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City paperwork, and a false signature attributing Associate Professor Dr. Pham Van Nang.
According to these master forgers, most buyers had chosen their services in order to upgrade their CVs in order to secure a better job and higher positions.
“The majority of buyers prefer MA degrees. Few people opt to buy PhD degrees for fear that they may be easily unmasked. Buyers of PhD degrees are mainly state officials,” Nam noted.
Mr. L.T.N, from Tan Binh District, bought a fake MA degree from Kien. He said, “I’ve told my colleagues that I was studying for a MA degree for three years. I decided to buy one to show off it to my leaders in a bid to get a promotion.”
Ms. L.N.H.H, from Go Vap District, shared, “I was allowed to be absent from the office twice a week to pursue a self-funded course for a MBA degree. They plan to appoint me as the deputy director after my graduation. I’m so busy that I can’t attend the class and decided to buy a fake degree instead.”
On average, each forger issues between 30 and 40 fake papers to clients a month, with over half of those being state officials.
A fake MA degree made by Kien and accomplices
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