After releasing a plagiarism exposé on Lingnan University’s Associate Vice President Dr Herdip Singh, Apple Daily has alleged that another council member has been operating a diploma mill, where student records were systematically forged so their graduation could be moved forward.
Lifelong College – which provided distant learning courses for bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in partnership with Tarlac State University, Bulacan State University and Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, all from the Philippines – was founded in 1998 by Singh’s fellow council member Dr. Alex Yee-lik Lee.
The college allegedly moved admission dates forward a deliberate attempt to speed up graduation. A doctorate could apparently be fast-forwarded from the usual four years to less than one year, and a bachelor’s degree could be rendered complete in less than one month.
A source told Apple Daily that staff at the college regard backdating as routine. Documents were apparently often openly classified as “backdate”, prompting staff to proceed with the forging accordingly. It is reported that student attendance records, evaluations and homework were forged, and that even answers to college examinations were provided.
“You could be doing admission at this instant, the next week is already oral defence, and the week after you could already be printing the graduation certificate”, the source said.
Peachy, as long as you still get Freshers’ Week!
The report alleges that pro-Beijing district council Cheng Kam-yun from the DAB party was among those who enrolled in a PhD course with Lifelong College. According to the records, Cheng signed up for the doctorate course in May 2012 through HKMA, but her defence and graduation was handled by Lifelong and her admission date was allegedly changed to 2011. She obtained a graduation certificate in April 2013, with 12 out of 16 coursed exempted.
Ex-Miss Hong Kong contestant and TVB actress Sisley Choi is also said to be involved in the scandal. She was apparently listed as having completed a bachelor’s degree in one month. She answered “I’ll look into that” nine times when asked about her qualification’s authencity.
The college has criticised Apple Daily for the exposé, calling the investigation “unethical”.
Picture: Apple Daily screengrab