Nine jailed in northern Vietnam over high school exam fraud

By Pham Du   May 29, 2020 | 07:34 pm GMT+7
Nine jailed in northern Vietnam over high school exam fraud
Lo Van Huynh, former head of the testing and quality assurance unit of Son La's education department, is sentenced to 21 years in jail for power abuse and accepting bribes at the Son La People's Court in Son La Province, May 29, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du.
Nine people were sentenced to between 30 months and 21 years in prison Friday over the 2018 high school exam scandal.

The People’s Court in the northern province of Son La also handed down suspended sentences to three other people involved in the case.

In the third trial held over the high school exam fraud that shocked the nation, the court sentenced Lo Van Huynh, former head of the testing and quality assurance unit of Son La's education department, the stiffest sentence of 21 years in jail for receiving bribes and abuse of power.

For the same charges, Nguyen Thi Hong Nga, former employee of the testing and quality assurance unit, got 19 years and six months, while Cam Thi Bun Son, former deputy head of the political ideology department under the department of education and training, got 10 years.

Tran Xuan Yen, former deputy director of the Department of Education and Training, got nine years for abuse of power and was forbidden from assuming his position for five years. He was also fined VND50 million ($2,150).

Also charged with abuse of power, Dang Huu Thuy, vice principal of the To Hieu High School, got eight years and was fined VND20 million, Do Khac Hung, former lieutenant colonel and official of the internal political security division under the provincial police department, got three years, Nguyen Thanh Nhan, former deputy head of the testing and quality assurance unit, got 30 months and was fined VND20 million.

Two other people were jailed for paying bribes for altering the exam scores.

Nguyen Minh Khoa, former colonel, deputy head of the internal political security division under the provincial police department, got eight years in jail. Tran Van Dien, former official of the continuing and occupational education center of Son La Town, got nine years and was also fined VND10 million.

Dinh Hai Son, former major and former deputy head of the education team of the internal political security division under the provincial police department, got a suspended sentence for power abuse.

Hoang Thi Thanh and Lo Thi Truong, two parents paying bribes to have their children's exam scores altered, got suspended sentences.

Thanh and Truong said they gave the bribes because they wanted their children to be able to go to university. Following the aftermath of the exam scandal, their children had to leave their institutions because their actual scores were insufficient.

Khoa and Dien said they were innocent. Khoa maintained his innocence through several trial sessions, saying accusations of him bribing Huynh with VND1 billion were "vague" and "baseless." He requested that the charges against him are dropped and he was set free.

Yen, who was accused of playing a main role in the case, also denied culpability. While the prosecution said his actions had allowed subordinates to carry out their illegal acts, he said their confessions and details of the accusations against him were "inaccurate." He denied having created opportunities for his subordinates to alter the exam scores.

Yen, Huynh, Thuy, Nga, Son and Nhan were found guilty of abusing their authority before and during the examination process to negotiate the fraudulent raising of exam scores for 44 students.

Huynh, Nga and Son had changed the points on the multiple-choice tests, prosecutors said. Nga played a major role in this process, altering the highest number of exam scores. She received VND1.04 billion ($44,700) from Dien to raise the scores for four students.

Meanwhile, Huynh received VND1 billion from Khoa to alter the scores for two students and VND300 million from Truong to raise the scores of his childpoints for Truong’s child and Son accepted VND440 million from Thanh to raise the points for Thanh’s child.

Last week, four people in Hoa Binh Province, including the former head of the provincial testing and quality assurance unit under the provincial Department of Education, were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison.

Last November, a trial was also held in the northern province of Ha Giang saw five senior education officials in the province sentenced to between one and eight years in prison for abusing their power.

The exam scandal, which covered Hoa Binh, Ha Giang and Son La, saw over 200 students in the three provinces had their results altered. In Vietnam, the exam is one of the most important events in a student’s academic career, setting the stage for higher education and careers.

After the fraud was exposed, dozens of students dropped out from top universities and some were expelled after their scores were corrected.

 
 
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