Crackdown on Fake Diploma Begins
By Kim Rahn
The prosecution has launched an intensive crackdown on the illegal forging of academic records and certificates as part of efforts to root out ``fabricated knowledge.''
The measure has come amid the recent furry of cases regarding famous figures in the art and cultural world who had forged their academic records, including art curator Shin Jeong-ah, English instructor Lee Ji-young, architect Lee Chang-ha, and Dongsoong Art Center head Kim Ock-rang.
The Supreme Prosecutors' Office said Thursday that regional offices would crack down on forgery cases in three categories until the end of the year: educational and cultural knowledge including diplomas; expert licenses; and certification regarding knowledge about safety measures.
For the educational and cultural knowledge category, prosecutors will clamp down on those forging or trading master's and doctoral degrees; those getting jobs with fake diplomas; those plagiarizing papers; those fabricating school exam scores, TOEIC or TOEFL records, and academic or employment certificates; and those forging artists' works.
In the license category, the prosecution will check medical or legal services from bogus doctors or lawyers, the lending of licenses to unqualified people, and the forgery of state-authorized or private organization-certified certificates such as licenses for tax accountants.
Prosecutors will also crack down on the forgery of certificates from both foreign and domestic organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Conformite European (CE), Korea Food and Drug Administration and Korean Standards.
Exaggerated and misleading advertisements will also be under investigation.
The prosecution will cooperate with related ministries and expert groups for ways of handling the effective crackdown.
``In the past when the nation focused on manufacturing, trademarks of luxurious goods were forged. But with the society becoming knowledge-based, `knowledge' is being forged,'' a prosecutor said.
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will also review the diplomas of 48,000 teachers at ``hagwons,'' private educational institutes, in Seoul. It initially planned investigating instructors who said they graduated from the nation's top three prestigious universities, but decided to expand it to those from all universities.
The office will report teachers found to have forged academic records to the police and hand out punitive measures to hagwon operators who hired such instructors.