Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

World Cup 2014: China fraudsters' boom in bogus sick notes

Surge in fake doctor's notes being sold on auction websites

Worried that your late night World Cup binges are going to negatively affect your work punctuality? Just don’t take a cue from football fans in China who have been fuelling a boom in fake doctor’s notes.

Three days before the tournament begins, auction websites have been inundated with fraudulent sick notes with sellers hoping to capitalise on workers’ desperation to watch matches, according to state-run newspaper the Global Times.

The 11-hour time difference between host nation Brazil and China means that many of the matches kick off at 3am and a day’s work just a few hours later is an uphill struggle some professionals do not want to face.

The counterfeit documents cost up to 300 yuan (£28), with a reporter obtaining one for a third of that price purporting to be from Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital.


The note claimed to be from its respiratory department, emblazoned with four stamps and a medical verdict reading: “Upper respiratory tract infection. Suggestion: one day of sick leave.”

It had a future date of 15 June, when England take on Italy with a kick-off time of 6am in China. The note was produced by a firm called Shanghai Sick Notes.

A spokesperson for the hospital said it would happily check the authenticity of a note if a suspicious employer wanted to verify it.

It is thought that similar services are also being offered in Beijing and Nanjing, though it could lead to imprisonment for those behind the scams.