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Police officer among 3 accused of cheating

The Anti-Corruption Unit has announced that three people, including a police officer, who were arrested last week in Svay Rieng province after posing as students taking the grade 12 national exam, have been charged with using false identities.

In a statement released on Monday, the ACU identified the suspects as Sdeung Chanthun, 21, a grocery seller; Sao Samnang, 23, a university student; and policeman Un Botra, 25.

Botra has also been charged with abuse of power due to his position, the statement says.

A fourth suspect, 25-year-old Hen Channy, was also arrested in Kandal province while posing as a student, but the ACU did not specify what charges had been laid against him.

“They all confessed,” the statement says, adding that the students who asked the “imposters” to sit the test on their behalf would be barred from taking the exam for two years.

Nouth Bopinnaroath, a coordinator with rights group Licadho, said Botra had been in pre-trial detention since August 7, while Chanthun and Samnang had been released on bail.

“This guy is a policeman who knows the law but violated it. He has done that many times before during exams,” he said.

According to the ACU statement, Botra said he was taking the exam on behalf of his brother because “he pitied him and he wanted [him to have] a certificate so he could continue his higher education”.

The statement also says Channy would have been paid $320 if the exam he sat gave the student a passing grade.

Like Botra, Channy is in pre-trial detention, representatives of rights group Adhoc in Kandal province said.

ACU head Om Yentieng declined to comment yesterday. Officials at Svay Rieng and Kandal provincial courts could not be reached.

Thousands of students were dismayed last week as they faced new strict measures during the national exam as part of an Education Ministry effort to crack down on the rampant cheating and corruption that has long characterised Cambodia’s education system.

Many pupils not used to studying failed as a result, leading Prime Minister Hun Sen to announce on Monday that a retest would be held.

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