Police in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu have found 29 local officials using fake high school graduate diplomas.
Most of the officials are in different agencies belonging to Hong Dan District, including the deputy chief of the district's Party Committee inspectorate, local police said.
Tran Quoc Ky, chief of Hong Dan's Party Committee's inspectorate, said following the police's findings, authorities have ordered that all the fake diplomas are revoked.
He said 14 officials under the committee's management have been censured.
Others, meanwhile, are facing punishment being discussed by their party committees in different towns and communes, according to Ky.
Provincial police have placed five people: Do Hoang Em, chairman of Ninh Quoi A Commune's Veterans Association, Ha Van Hoang, Duong Quoc Phong, Nguyen Thanh Phong and Dang Van Chien under investigation.
While Chien, the ring's leader, is still at large, others have been arrested.
Initial investigations show that Em and Hoang were brokers for the others in selling fake diplomas to officials and students.
For each diploma, sold for between VND8-10 million (US$410-513), Em and Hoang were paid VND2-5 million ($102.6-256.5), police said, adding they found at least 43 fake diplomas have been sold to officials and students.
The trio then made fake diplomas with forged signatures of the director of the Department of Education and Training in Kien Giang province, although all the officials had registered to study at Hong Dan District's Center of Continuing Education, according to police.
Further investigation in ongoing, police said.
The VnExpress news service cited the officials as saying they'd procured the diplomas in order to hold on to their positions.
It was not clear, however, whether their position was actually under threat because they did not possess high school diplomas.
Previously, 90 officials in the southern province of Long An and at least 59 officials and teachers in the southern province of Soc Trang were also found using fake high school diplomas.