Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, who assumed the chairman’s post at the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on Monday, is facing questions about his personal integrity in relation to his links with Lifelong College.
According to Apple Daily, Chan is suspected to have helped the educational institution that has been accused of fast-tracking degrees, and for also failing to report income paid for the work there.
The newspaper said that its investigation has revealed that Chan acted as thesis advisor in 2013, when he was a professor of Social Gerontology at Lingnan University, for Wan Chai district councilor Anna Tang.
Tang was at that time studying to get a doctoral degree from Tarlac State University (TSU) in the Philippines through Hong Kong’s Lifelong College, which was founded by Alex Lee Ye-lick, a member of the Lingnan University council.
It was found that Tang used to study for PhD in Lingnan University where Chan was her thesis advisor. As she was not able to graduate, she enrolled in Lifelong College and finally received the degree from TSU with Chan once again being her thesis advisor.
On the first day of work at EOC Monday, Chan said he had reported to Lingnan about his work at Lifelong.
He also claimed that he did not get any pay for the work.
But Lingnan denied that it has received any report from Chan related to his work at Lifelong, and also said that it has never been a partner with TSU, contrary to what Chan suggested.
The EOC also issued a statement later in which it admitted that Chan had been invited by Lifelong as a thesis advisor to assist students there in getting their degrees.
It also said that Chan has apologized for not having reported his off-campus work to Lingnan University.
In another statement from EOC late Monday night, Chan admitted that he had received HK$8,000 as payment for his work as thesis advisor at Lifelong.
He added that he had filed a tax return on that money.
Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor at the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said it is surprising to learn that Chan as a senior academic failed to report what he needed to, and that his conduct was very inappropriate.
Democratic Party legislator Helena Wong Pik-wan, also expressing surprise at Chan’s conduct and his response, urged the new EOC chief to resign as soon as possible from his post.
Chan has disappointed the public on the first day of his new job, she said.
Wong also said that the whole incident raises questions about potential corruption.
She urged Lingnan’s management to disclose if there are other faculty members who have connections with Lifelong, like Chan did.
Top Lingnan academic tied to doctorate fast-tracking scandal (Nov. 12, 2015)
Lifelong College probed by govt for cranking out degrees (Nov. 13, 2015)
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