중앙데일리

Police say they busted scam to beat Toeic exam

Ex-cons hatched plot in jail, used earphones

June 24,2009

Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency yesterday detained two suspects surnamed Kim and Park on charges of raking in some 50 million won ($38,750) from 28 university students and job seekers in exchange for using electronic devices to send test takers answers to questions on the Test of English for International Communication, or Toeic.

Police are also investigating the test takers for possible wrongdoing.

According to police, Kim would place a posting on the Internet 20 days before the tests, guaranteeing would-be examinees that they could get high scores using his service. When he received replies, Kim would call those test takers and explain how his scheme worked after checking if there is a police officer in an examinee’s family.

Then he asked the examinee to choose one method of receiving answers, either by a cell phone text message or an earphone. He asked about the choice because the cost was different.

When the examinee chose to use the earphone, Kim would issue electronic devices the day before the test.

On the test date, Park would enter the test center with an actual examinee who was equipped with an earphone the size of a grain of rice. He would also wear an antenna resembling a necklace.

Park would use a small wireless device with buttons to send answers to Kim who was in a car with a wireless vibrating device. The device would vibrate once if the answer was “A.” It would vibrate twice if the answer was “B,” and so on.

Then Kim would announce the answer to the examinee through the earphone. In one case, the procedure improved a test taker’s score by 300 points. The examinee paid 3.3 million won into Kim’s bank account in advance.

According to police, the 42-year-old Kim first met Park, 31, in 2007 at a prison in Wonju, Gangwon. Kim asked Park, who had lived in the United States for 27 years and taught English in Korea, to join the scam. Kim explained to Park exactly how it worked, authorities said. Police caught Kim in a similar operation in 2006.

After being released from jail last year, both men implemented their plan. At first they used cell phones to contact the test takers, later adopting earphones. Kim would tell test takers how to hide their cell phones the day before the test.

“Kim used a number of phones and savings accounts to separate money transactions. He did not stay in one place and wandered around many Internet cafes to upload advertisements,” said an officer who asked not to be named. “Kim did not even tell examinees the answers to the last 10 questions to create the impression that they did not cheat on the examination,” he added.


By Jeong Seon-eon, Lee Min-yong [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]



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