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Fake disability IDs on the rise

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SHANGHAI railway police are finding more and more passengers holding fake certifications, identifying them as disabled soldiers, to get reduced ticket fares.

Between 50 and 60 percent of certification-holders have forged the documents, said Yao Yunhai, a spokesman with the railway police. And the "number is rising," Yao said.

Officers said they have nabbed 39 people carrying fake certifications since January.

The certification-holders pay half-price when they board railways, ferries, long-distance buses and planes. They can also ride for free on buses and subways.

The cost for forging a certification is 200 yuan (US$29.30) to 500 yuan, police said.

"I once caught six people with the fake documents in one single day," said Zhang Shujie, an officer based at Shanghai Railway Station.

Zhang said in one case a woman who claimed she was a general with a disabled-soldier certification was later found to be a civilian without any handicap. The woman, boarding a train from north China's Harbin City to Shanghai, told police she wanted to save half of the 278-yuan ticket price.

She was asked to cover the margin, police said.

Severe offenders can be fined 50 yuan or face detainment if caught.

However, many are still willing to take their chances despite the punishment because authorities have found it difficult to distinguish the documents.

Unlike the document for a student ticket, the certifications of disabled soldiers were not issued by the Ministry of Railway.

School students, with the documents and student IDs, can enjoy ticket discount.

But disabled soldiers have no other proof that can be identified by the rail authorities.

"We do not receive extra training for identifying the fake document," said a rail official who declined to be named.

Police said the color, letter and photo size of the fake document is different from the genuine one, and they will beef up the checks and plan to train railway staff.

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