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Police arrest test-leaking teacher

Nov 08,2018
Police arrested a teacher at a private high school in Seoul Wednesday on charges of leaking exam questions to his twin daughters.

The Seoul Central District Court granted the police’s warrant request to arrest the 53-year-old suspect Tuesday evening. The teacher, surnamed Hyeon, has been charged with obstruction of business by prosecutors for allegedly giving exam answers to his daughters at Sookmyung Girls’ High School, where he is a senior faculty member.

“Given the suspect’s relationship to his accomplices, amount of evidence and clarity of the motives behind the crime, [Hyeon] has been deemed likely to dispose of evidence,” the court said.

Hyeon’s twin daughters, currently second year students, recorded the top scores on their spring semester finals, which was out of step with their earlier academic record.

Parents at the school questioned whether their father, a tenured faculty member, leaked exam questions and answers to them prior to the test.

The Suseo Police Precinct, which investigated the matter, suggested to the court that Hyeon would likely destroy evidence if not detained, given the fact that he replaced his computer immediately after the case came to light in August. Both Hyeon and his daughters have denied any wrongdoing, and claimed the girls’ scores were due to their diligence and were not the result of cheating.

The girls were ranked 59th and 121th among around 460 students attending the school during their first semester last year. By spring, they had jumped to first place in the fields of liberal arts and sciences.

Recent reports revealed that the girls’ scores dropped drastically in their midterm test last month, after the suspicions were widely publicized. Police are regarding this as evidence that the girls’ scores for their spring semester finals were inconsistent with their actual academic performance. The girls said the drop in their score was a result of psychological trauma from the police investigation.

Police have plenty of evidence in their possession that points to possible cheating. Memos were found inside the girls’ phones with answers to test questions and booklets at their home also filled with test questions and answers. Hyeon often worked late-night shifts alone at a teachers’ lounge, where the test was kept inside a safe, police said. He may have taken advantage of this to leak the exam’s content.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]