The principal of a now-defunct tutorial center along with three of its former tutors have been found guilty of assisting Chinese nationals in cheating through their 2016 O-level exams. Six students have received their clandestine help that invluded smuggling in devices to feed the examinees answers.

Who are the tutors and the principal who assisted in the cheating?

The Straits Times said that District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt convicted Poh Yuan Nie, 54 years old and two others. Poh’s niece Fiona Poh Min was also convicted along with 28-year-old Feng Riwen–both tutors of the former center. They were convicted of 27 counts of cheating committed last October 2016.

Feng was a Chinese national. The rest of the accused were from Singapore.

Another 33-year-old tutor named Tan Jia Yan was previously sentenced to three years in jail for being involved in the cheating. Tan had previously pleaded guilty for 27 cheating charges.

Who cheated on their O-levels?

According to a report by The Straits Times, six Chinese nationals aged 17 to 20 at the time sneaked smartphones and Bluetooth devices into their O-level exams.

Prosecutors mentioned that the scheme started Poh who also went by the name “Pony” received $8,000 per student in the scheme. The amount was given by Chinese national Dong Xin as tuition to help them pass exams for local polytechnic schools.

The tutors involved in the scheme then whispered and coached them through skintone-colored ear pieces. The cheating students used the scheme to cheat on English and Math exams.

The cheating students attended exams with the earpieces strategically concealed while the mobile phones and the Bluetooth devices were taped to their bodies to hide the bulk.

The prosecutors for the case then added, “During the examinations, Jia Yan’s role was mainly to sit the examinations as a private candidate and use the FaceTime application on her phone to present a livestream of the question papers to the co-accused stationed at the tuition centre.

“The others worked on the questions streamed to them. Riwen (and others) then called the students to read the answers to them. Pony oversaw the entire process.”

For a mathematics paper, Tan switched with Fiona Poh since Tan was better.

Prosecutors said that Pony was the one responsible for cooking up the scheme, and that the other tutors were merely accomplices.

How were the students and tutors caught?

The cheating system worked for three papers taken from October 19 to 21, 2016 until October 24. One of the alert invigilators at the exam heard unusual voices and electronic transmissions from one of the students.

The proctors allowed the students to finish, then the latter was taken to an office and told to hand over the devices attached to their person. The student also revealed how the ruse played out.

When Pony found out that the student was caught, she allegedly went into a panic and told the student to go back to China. Tan then paid for a plane ticket for the student, who went home that same evening.

What did the cheating tutors and principal have to say as their defense?

According to Pony’s defense lawyer, Peter Fernando, his client and the three other tutors allegedly had no obligation to tell the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board that the Chinese students would receive help while taking the exams.

But the prosecutors belied that, saying, “The students were clearly governed by the rules of the GCE O-level examinations – including a rule that provided that the students were not to bring into the examination venue any unauthorised materials or electronic devices.

“The students were under an obligation to observe and adhere to all the examination rules.”

According to the same report, each count of cheating could see them jailed for three years.

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