Police in north China have detained one man and seized 10 fake journalist IDs following reports that jobless young people were pretending to be reporters to blackmail local mine owners.
The fake journalist IDs.[File photo]
Police in Yuanping city, Shanxi Province, said the young man who was detained late Wednesday claimed to be a reporter of a provincial government-run newspaper.
"We will severely crack down on fake journalists, because only by doing so, can we truly protect the real ones," said Dong Hongyun, secretary of Xinzhou municipal Party committee.
On March 18, Guangdong-based newspaper Southern Weekly reported that many jobless young men in Shanxi's Xinzhou posed as journalists and used their knowledge of the mining businesses to blackmail company bosses and low-level government officials.
According to the article in Southern Weekly, the fake reporters went to unlicensed mines, showed their fake journalist IDs and threatened to expose them.
The mine managers would give them hush money of around 1,000 yuan (146 U.S. dollars).
It is said that some of the fake reporters had indeed been licensed reporters at one time and had the ability to publish stories with the help of media friends.