Tuition centre owner fined for lying to police to help cover up case of exam cheating

Tuition centre owner fined for lying to police to help cover up case of exam cheating

Channel NewsAsia·2018-02-05 22:05

A courtroom gavel. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: The owner of a tuition centre was fined S$2,000 on Monday (Feb 5) for lying to the police to protect an employee suspected of helping Chinese nationals gain entry into a secondary school here without sitting for an entrance exam.

Wong Mee Keow, 39, pleaded guilty on Monday to two charges of lying to the police in 2006. Another charge of obstructing the course of justice was taken into account during sentencing.

Wong's lies derailed an investigation for a decade.

In 2006, an investigation was launched when the teachers of two Chinese students realised they had performed very poorly in exams despite having passed an entrance exam to get into the school.

When they were confronted, the students admitted that their Chinese agents had arranged for them to skip the exam and still win a place in the school. An investigation into the agents led the police to Wong’s Pivot Tuition Centre and an employee by the name of Poh Yuan Nie, Deputy Public Prosecutor Vadivalagan Shanmuga said.

When questioned by the police in August and November 2006, Wong pretended she had no idea who Poh, also known as Pony, was. With no leads, the police dropped the investigation against Pony.

A decade later, in 2016, Wong attempted to protect Pony again by deleting photographs of the woman from her mobile phone to prevent the police from identifying her.

The two are in a relationship, said Wong's lawyer, Peter Ong Lip Cheng.

However, Pony was eventually arrested and charged. Among other charges, she is accused of conspiring with three others to cheat the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board into believing a student, Chen Yi, had sat for the GCE O-Level English Paper 1 without assistance.

Court documents allege Pony, together with Fiona Poh Min, Tan Jia Yen and Feng Riwen, helped Chen to cheat on the exam on Oct 24, 2016. The trio are also accused of perverting the course of justice by instigating Chen to leave the country in the face of a police investigation.

Pony, who was in court to support Wong on Monday, will go on trial in April this year.

For lying to the police, Wong could have been sentenced to up to six months' jail and fined up to S$1,000, per charge.

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Singapore Fine Police Examination Crime