World Cup fuels China's 'sick notes' trade
A TIME difference of up to 12 hours between China and Brazil has given Chinese wheeler-dealers a lucrative opportunity selling fake sick notes to football fans staying up all night to watch World Cup games.
A search by AFP for "Beijing" and "sick notes service" returned 49,500 results on Chinese search engine Baidu yesterday, with vendors providing photocopies of hospital certificates with official stamps and doctors' signatures in their "product catalogue".
But the country's biggest online consumer-to-consumer platform Taobao banned searches for "World Cup" and "sick notes" after a surge in offers of the certificates in recent days, Beijing Youth Daily reported this week.
But sellers have kept business going on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo and other social networking websites.
The soon-to-be-unwell can pick from a range of illnesses, from fever and fractures to abortion and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Sick notes are mostly sold at 20 yuan (S$4) each on one social networking website popular among students and graduates, the Beijing Youth Daily report said.
A seller said she sold around 30 notes every day and posted pictures of piles of delivery receipts as evidence, it said.
Another vendor told the paper: "Many people buy this. It's very reliable."