A former Perth university lecturer has escaped imprisonment after admitting he took thousands of dollars in bribes to increase exam marks for students who would otherwise have failed.
Tuck Cheong Foong, 54, pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court in June to three charges of corruption and two counts of bribery following a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into offences committed at Curtin University in 2012.
Foong increased the marks of two students who should have failed units for their Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management and Economics) degree.
One student paid him $3000 and the other paid $1500.
For a third student – whose father in Malaysia had known Foong for many years – he increased the mark on one assignment and gave him a pass mark on another project even though the assignment had not even been submitted.
On Friday, Judge Philip McCann sentenced Foong to 16 months jail, suspended for two years.
He said the offences were very serious and had the potential to cause serious damage to Curtin University’s reputation.
While it was important to send a message to others that jail would follow such offending, and that academic integrity was taken seriously, Mr McCann acknowledged Foong’s behaviour was “irrational and out character”, and accordingly suspended the sentence.
It followed Foong being told he was about to be made redundant after 24 years with the university, which left him “emotionally devastated” and affected his judgment.
Foong was also fined $6000 for his actions relating to the third student.