200 officials hire students to sit English exams

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Police in southern Vietnam are investigating a college and a language center accused of arranging for students to sit English exams on behalf of at least 200 local government officials.

The officials from Dong Nai Province, which neighbors Ho Chi Minh City, were in need of TOEFL and TOEIC certificates to fulfill their master's degree applications.

Investigations found that students from Lac Hong University in the province were sitting exams at Dong A Foreign Language Center together with local government officials to help them with the answers, or even on their behalf, Tuoi Tre newspaper said Thursday.

The operation was discovered in September last year when a teacher from the university, Le Duc Thinh, spotted familiar students in the exam room he was supervising.

Do Tran Le Son, 28, a former student at Lac Hong university, was arrested as the operation's organizer.

Son said he would fake related papers and change the photos on ID cards, which the candidates need to show exam supervisors, in order to get students into exam rooms.

Son and his people gathered around 20 foreign language students from the university who also sat for students who needed the certificates.

They were paid VND4-7 million (US$367) by each customer and each member was paid VND1 million for each official who passed the exam.

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Local police said the 200 officials came from three out of nine exams that Dong A organized in 2011.

Thus the real number in the scam could be much bigger, they said.

Another member of the ring, Tran Quang Hung, 27, was also arrested for making fake TOEIC and TOEFL certificates for nearly 30 people at VND10 million (US$481) apiece.

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