Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Football fans in China buy fake sick notes ahead of World Cup

By Zoe Li, CNN
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
A Chinese website offers sick notes from a Beijing hospital.
A Chinese website offers sick notes from a Beijing hospital.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World Cup matches will take place while most people should be asleep in China
  • To deal with the inconvenient game schedule, workers are taking bogus sick leave
  • Vendors sell fake doctor's notes online for as much as $50

(CNN) -- The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.

Football fans are preparing for the kick off the biggest sporting event of the year by purchasing fake sick notes online.

Most World Cup matches will take place in Brazil when it is past midnight in China, or in the early hours between 3 and 6 a.m. The schedule has Chinese media dramatically referring to this year's competition as "the World Cup with the greatest time difference in history."

To catch those pre-dawn games, fans are resorting to claiming sick leave by purchasing fake doctor's notes through e-commerce sites such as Taobao.

Rats sold as beef in China
Apple legal headache over iPad in China

Standard pads of sick notes have always been available on the site, for as little as RMB 1 ($0.16) per pack. But to get a note that looks authentic, with a hospital's stamp and a convincing diagnostic scrawl from a doctor, it will cost up to RMB 300 ($50) per note, local media reports.

One football fan said he was considering purchasing sick leave slips online for the thrill of watching games as they happened.

"Recordings of matches are meaningless, only live broadcasts are fun. If I stay up all night to watch the games, I will be so sleepy the next day and my boss will scold me," the man surnamed Liu told Sina News.

Direct searches for fake sick notes won't work on e-commerce sites such as Taobao. To get around the illegality of selling fraudulent notes, vendors title their items as "proof of diagnosis note."

Sina also reported that one online vendor was claiming to offer sick notes with consultation records registered at a Beijing hospital, at double the price of notes without registered records.

To prevent employees taking fake sick leave, one IT company in Guangdong province has made a rare offer of three days paid leave to employees who wish to watch World Cup matches, according to local media.

Fake sick notes made headlines in China in 2012 when a postal worker in Hong Kong used 130 doctor's notes bought from Taobao to scam more than HK$217,000 (about $28,000) in sick leave allowance as well as 635 days of leave in the span of four years.

Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption found pads of blank doctor's notes as well as bogus doctor's stamps at the 40-year-old offender's home.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0545 GMT (1345 HKT)
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0200 GMT (1000 HKT)
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
ADVERTISEMENT