Examiners to probe fraud, hooligan claims

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 January, 2005, 12:00am

A Scottish academic body is to send a team to the mainland to investigate allegations that an institute running its courses is guilty of mass academic fraud and hiring thugs to beat up a whistle-blowing American teacher.

There are also claims the campus principal led a group of hooligans to threaten an associated institution that reported the allegations.

The accusations are directed at the Dalian campus of Northeast Normal University (NNU).

The allegations were made by Sea Rich College. The NNU courses - backed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority - were transferred to the college after students enrolled in NNU's English-language courses had passed with flying colours despite having no command of the language.

Raymond Lamont, chief executive officer at the college, claims Wu Lizhong - the principal of NNU's Dalian campus - led a group of men who surrounded the college and beat up an American teacher soon after the allegations were made.

'That man employed hooligans. He was the man who arrived at the school with about 14 hooligans. He is the man who physically assaulted an American teacher and demanded documents, records and papers,' Mr Lamont claimed.

He also said some students had been tricked into enrolling in courses under the false pretence that they would receive overseas accreditation.

In an interview with the Sunday Morning Post, NNU's Mr Wu denied all accusations.

He claimed the 'hooligans' were actually teachers sent by the university to teach at Sea Rich College, and accused the college of stealing their personal possessions.

Sea Rich College was contracted by NNU to teach Scottish Higher National Diploma subjects, including tourism, hospitality, computing, finance and business studies.

The college took over the implementation of the course from NNU in November. But Sea Rich College has suspended some of the classes in light of the allegations.

SQA spokesman Mike Haggerty said the authority would send investigators to examine evidence. He declined to reveal when.

'We do take this incident and these types of allegations seriously wherever they occur. This is our normal practice to get involved and trawl through as much information as possible to help us make as informed a decision as possible,' he said.