Education lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong believes that universities risk creating an environment conducive to plagiarism and fraud because they place a strong emphasis on research work at the expense of teaching. Mr Cheung said this after government statistics noted that three plagiarism cases involving research fraud had led to the withdrawal of academic papers and expulsion in the past three years. 'Quite a number of scholars have criticised the existing mechanism by which the University Grants Committee (UGC) allocates research funds to institutions, saying that the mechanism has caused the institutions to place emphasis on research work and neglect teaching.' Eight complaints of plagiarism were lodged with the eight UGC-funded tertiary institutions, with three cases being substantiated upon further investigation. Two of the substantiated cases involved University of Hong Kong researchers, with the academic papers in question in both cases being withdrawn and a teaching staff resigning. The third case was triggered after a postgraduate research student at Polytechnic University laid a complaint against another research student and a teacher. While the allegation against the teacher was dismissed, the academic paper in question was withdrawn and the accused student was expelled from the university. Mr Cheung called for independent and impartial mechanisms to be established to deal with complaints of plagiarism. The Education Bureau denied that the UGC had placed too much emphasis on research work, thereby neglecting teaching. 'Of the block grant allocated by UGC to institutions, only around 23 per cent is for research and 75 per cent is for teaching,' the Bureau said, adding that independent mechanisms and procedures for dealing with plagiarism cases were already in place. 'An independent committee will be set up to investigate complaints,' it said. 'The committee is comprised of external members who have no conflicts of interest in the cases.' Bureau statistics revealed that local researchers published 20,000 research papers every year.