A senior Hong Kong academic is being linked to a scandal in which doctoral programs are allegedly being fast-tracked for a fee.
Degrees have been awarded up to two years early by Lifelong College, a school founded in 1998 by Dr. Alex Lee Ye-lick, Apple Daily reports, citing its own investigation.
Lee serves on the council of Lingnan University.
The alleged irregularity came to light after Herdip Singh, Lingnan’s associate vice president and comptroller, was suspected of plagiarism in a 2013 doctoral thesis submitted to Tarlac University in the Philippines.
Tarlac University is one of three Philippine affiliates of Lifelong College. The others are Bulacan State University and Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology
Singh eventually received a doctorate from Tarlac University.
Lifelong College also offers bachelor’s and master’s programs under the government’s Extended Non-Means-Tested Loan Scheme which provides financial assistance to eligible candidates.
According to Apple Daily, Lifelong College charges HK$2,000 (US$258) to forge attendance records, shortening the program to one year from 3-4 years.
The service includes helping candidates write their theses,
An undercover reporter said he was told by a Lifelong staffer he could get a doctorate in business administration from Tarlac University in less than two years for HK$118,000, no attendance required.
Most of its students are reportedly from mainland China and Vietnam who are seeking a fast track to emigration.
Lee refused to comment on the forgery allegations against Lifelong College but said Singh’s suspected plagiarism will not hurt Lingnan’s reputation.
Barrister Albert Luk said anyone who commits forgery in school attendance records or grades for the purpose of illegally obtaining a diploma could be jailed up to 14 years.
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