Would-be cops 'cheated' on admission exams

Would-be cops 'cheated' on admission exams

MPB seeks to nullify test results after probe

Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau
Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau

The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) wants to annul admission exam results as it is suspected many applicants cheated.

A selection committee and representatives from police agencies mostly agreed to "nullify the exam results", said MPB chief Sanit Mahathavorn, who chaired their meeting on Friday.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda will be asked to have the final say, Pol Lt Gen Sanit said.

Police investigators suspect some applicants who are studying at top departments of universities might have been involved in the scam, giving the correct answers to other applicants. The test was used to hopefully recruit 1,000 people to be trained as police officers.

A total of 13,285 people applied online to sit the exam on Dec 4 last year. About 1,800 of them passed the written exam and had already passed physical tests. They were having their qualifications checked by judges to make the final selection when the alleged cheating was detected.

An initial check found no flaws in steps to prepare the exam paper and its distribution, acting deputy national police chief Pol Gen Detnarong Sutthichanbancha said, citing the Police Education Bureau.

A probe was subsequently launched to focus largely on an exam cheating gang among the applicants.

A check on the answer sheets of 50 applicants with the lowest scores found some of their answers did not seem to match with the remainder of the test.

Some scored as low as 13 out of 150 even though this group of applicants had an adequate educational background, Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Songphon Watthanachai said.

A closer look at their exam papers found some maths calculations and correct answers which were written in "unusually large letters and numbers" which could be seen from a long distance, Pol Maj Gen Songphon said.

It was strange they knew the correct answers to certain questions but got low marks in others, he said.

The exam was designed to test applicants with a level of Mathayom 6 (Grade 12), so it would be easy for some applicants who are studying in top departments at universities, Pol Col Uthen Nuiphin, chief of the MPB's Training Centre, said.

Police investigators suspect that at least 80 applicants might have been involved in the cheating scam. A preliminary investigation also found they are studying medicine, dentistry and engineering majors, Pol Col Uthen said.

So far 15 of them have been questioned and the officers suspect "an official attached to City Hall" allegedly hired them for between 20,000 and 30,000 baht each to give correct answers to his customers, each of whom were to pay him 500,000 baht, Pol Col Uthen said.

The answer givers and receivers would sit close to each other.

It is believed they paid "exam fees" via banks at the same time and got examinee numbers that were close to one another, he said

Instead of using high-tech devices for cheating, the gang used a simple method which appeared to help avoid detection, Pol Col Uthen said.

Pol Lt Gen Sanit said police are considering charging the answer providers.

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