O-Levels Cheating Operations: Jail For Tuition Centre Principal And Two Others

O-Levels Cheating Operations: Jail For Tuition Centre Principal And Two Others

They hatched an elaborate plan to help six students cheat during the exams.

Following a trio’s elaborate set-up to help six students cheat during the 2016 GCE-O Level Examinations, all three have been given jail terms on Wednesday (16 Sep).

According to reports, the cheating operations which ran from 19 October and 24 October 2016, were instigated by 54-year-old Pony Poh Yuan Nie, the principal of Zeus Education Centre. Others who played a key role in the operations included her niece Fiona Poh Min, 33, who worked as a tutor at the centre, and part-time tutor Chinese national Feng Riwen, 28, who helped out at Zeus and ran classes there occasionally. 

O-Levels Cheating Operations

The trio’s plan also involved another tutor, 34-year-old Tan Jia Yan who sat for the exams as a private candidate for the following papers: Mathematics Paper 1 and 2, English Paper 1 and 2, and the Science Physics/Chemistry Revised Practical Paper.

Tan reportedly had a smartphone strapped to her chest with scotch tape to conceal the device under her clothing. She then used the Facetime app to live stream the examination papers back to her team (Poh, Fiona and Feng), who worked behind the scenes to provide solutions to the answers.

After solving the questions, they proceeded to share the answers with the six Chinese national students, aged between 17 and 20, who were also taking the examinations concurrently as private candidates.

The students enrolled in Zeus Education centre, were equipped with a bluetooth device connected to mobile phones concealed under their clothing on the exam day. They received the answers through disguised skin-coloured earphones. 

Doing so allowed the team to relay the questions and answers back and forth between the different examination halls and tuition centre.

O-Levels Cheating Operations: Jail For Tuition Centre Principal And Two Others

The O-Levels cheating operations involved strapping concealed mobile phones to the chest and equipping the students with a bluetooth device connected to it, as well as a skin-coloured earphone. | Image source: iStock

However, during the English Paper 1 exam on 24 October, an alert invigilator noticed Chen Yi, one of the candidates behaving suspiciously and heard unusual electronic transmission sounds and voices being emitted from him.

She immediately reported the incident to the presiding examiners. 

After Chen completed the paper, he was brought to the invigilators’ holding room where the conspiracy was uncovered. The concealed mobile phone was revealed after Chen was asked to remove his vest.

The unusual bulge around his collarbone also gave the scheme away and the invigilator found the other devices on his body. Following the reveal, Chen confessed to his actions and the Singapore Examinations Assessment Board (SEAB) was notified about the incident. 

Sentencing the three in court on Wednesday (16 Sep), District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said the trio had “scandalised” the examination system of Singapore and had caused a degree of harm to its reputation on a national level.

O-Levels Cheating Operations: Jail For Tuition Centre Principal And Two Others

Image source: iStock

For their elaborate scam, Pony was sentenced to four years’ jail, Fiona to three years, and Feng to two years and four months.

According to reports, Pony received monetary sums amounting to some $8,000 and admission fees amounting to some $1,000 for each student referred to Zeus Education Centre.

As part of the contract terms, the money would be fully refunded in the event the students failed their O-level exams and was unable to secure a place in a local polytechnic.

Tan, on the other hand, was sentenced to three years’ jail last April. She received a monthly salary of $3,000, in addition to the $1,000 she received per student by providing temporary accommodation.

Feng and Fiona each still have one stood down charge of obstructing justice, while Pony has 11 pending charges, including cheating.


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Written by

Jia Ling

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