Eminent members of society, some of whom are ‘Tan Sris’, have been implicated in buying fake degrees from a syndicate recently brought down by the Selangor police commercial crimes investigation department (CCID).

“Many of those involved are those with status in society,” said Selangor CPO Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah.

NONESpeaking to reporters at the state police media briefing in Shah Alam today, he added that some of those linked with the fake degree syndicate included ‘Tan Sris’.
Asked if this includes politicians, he declined comment as investigations into the exact details are under way.

Tun Hisan said that those who bought the degrees “know very well” that they were purchasing fake degrees and if they used those documents to get jobs or for whatever purpose, it involves "elements of fraud".

 Quizzed on whether those who purchased the fake degrees will be charged, the Selangor CPO said that they are still investigating and are considering that possibility.

However, he said that all those identified from the photographs and documents recovered as evidence from the syndicate will be called in for investigations.

Tun Hisan earlier announced that the state CCID had busted a fake degree syndicate operating out of an office in the Taipan USJ 10 commercial area.

Police estimated that the syndicate fronted by the registered business entity Jakri Education Group, has issued fake degrees to at least 525 persons and raked in over RM5 million in fees.

A local male aged 37, a director and shareholder of the firm, was arrested in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Meanwhile, a woman aged 36, also a local and an agent for the syndicate, was picked up at the Jakri Education Group office in Subang Jaya.

Both suspects will be remanded until July 28.

The male director’s wife, a lecturer, is also a shareholder in the firm but police have as yet found no connection between her and the illegal activities.

‘Some varsities exist only in cyberspace’

According to police further, the syndicate, which has been operating since 2003, charged RM6,500 for a bachelor’s degree, RM8,000 for a master’s and RM10,000 for a PhD to both local and foreign students.

They recruited students online and through a network of agents, giving them the degrees after receiving payment without need of attending classes, finishing assignments, taking exams or completing research papers.

Convocation ceremonies would then be held several times each year at prestigious hotels around the country for which the ‘students’ are then charged extra for the function, photos and graduation robes, with foreigners recruited to play the part of the ‘dean’ of the various universities from which the degrees were purportedly issued.

Some of the universities the syndicate used in their fake degrees included University of Rockhampton (USA), Harvey International University (USA), Cannington Brook University (UK) and Glastonbury University (UK).

Some of the universities “only exist in cyberspace”, while others are real institutions but with no Malaysian operations or links at all.

Tun Hisan urged parents whose children had degrees from the Jakri Education Group, or employers with staff who had the same credentials, to verify their qualifications.