Prison testset for DSEtutor cheat

Local | Cissy So 26 May 2020

Star tutor Weslie Siao Chi-yung has been jailed for 14 months for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Cheung Kwok-kuen, an examiner overseeing the Diploma of Secondary Education exam who sent Chinese-language DSE exam questions to Siao was also jailed for eight months, while another examiner, Ng Wang-leung, was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years.

Siao, 43, a former Chinese-language instructor at Modern Education, was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office with Cheung, 44, and Ng, 44.

The trio, schoolmates at Shue Yan University, appeared before magistrate Kelly Shui at Tuen Mun courts for sentencing yesterday after being found guilty on May 11.

The examiners sent the exam questions via Whatsapp, which Siao later posted on his Facebook.

Cheung, a teacher at Buddhist Sum Heung Lam Memorial College, sent DSE oral questions to Siao via WhatsApp eight times before the exam and between exam sessions in March 2016. Siao later posted the questions on his Facebook page.

Wah Yan College teacher Ng leaked instructions, questions and introductory videos for examiners made by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority on March 4, 2017.

Siao then posted the information provided by Ng on Facebook three days later in the form of a video summary.

Siao's lawyer presented a petition letters, including from an assistant professor at Shue Yan University and a district councillor that said the tutor was very hardworking, which was reflected in his positive background report

However, Shui said: "As Siao leaked the questions before the exam started, it was unacceptable for him to say in his background report that he shared the exam questions right after he received them just to help students prepare for their exams the following year."

She also said she did not believe Cheung committed a crime simply for his friend, as he was aware that disclosing confidential papers was illegal and unfair to students.

"Even though there is no evidence that Cheung has received any benefits from Siao, it was unimaginable for the court to see why he would risk it all to commit such a crime," Shui added.

The lawyer said Siao's mistake was unintentional and that he made the mistake to attract more students, but not to help them cheat in exams.

Shui said no matter the intention, Siao still cheated the system, adding it was a pity Ng was, of the three, the most innocent as he was blinded by friendship.

The court found three teachers facing sentences in this case regrettable, she said, but the leaking of questions has to stop and a deterrent sentence had to be given.

Tsai Ying-ying, a former Chinese tutor at Modern Education, was earlier found not guilty of misconduct in public office for sending papers to her husband Siao when she was monitoring an exam in April 2017 as an invigilator. Shui said during the trial Tsai, 34, was not hired as an examiner, and her action did not involve abuse of public power.

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