Vietnamese Gang Busted for Cheating on Korean Test

Daniel Kim, Sept. 26, 2017, 9:22 a.m.

A ring of Vietnamese brokers has been busted for cheating on Korean language proficiency tests in Hanoi, according to police in Busan on Monday.

The incident happened in April during the beginner-level Test of Proficiency in Korean or TOPIK, which some 2,400 Vietnamese took.

Korean police nabbed Vietnamese and Korean brokers and 18 test takers who paid them for helping them cheat.

The method was simple. One of the gang, a 27-year-old Vietnamese man who has a master's degree from Seoul National University and is fluent in Korean, sat the test and finished it in just 20 minutes out of the 100 allowed.

He gave the answers to two brokers who run a study-overseas agency and a language academy, who were waiting for him outside. About a dozen assistants in turn transmitted them to test takers still in the venue.

The cheaters all passed and obtained industrial trainee visas for a one-year training course in welding at a college in Ulsan.

Under new regulations that took effect in January, all foreign trainee visa applicants are required to pass at least the beginner-level TOPIK.

The brokers charged W15 million for their services, about three times the average Vietnamese worker's annual salary (US$1=W1,133).

The three brokers and 18 cheaters were all arrested at Gimhae International Airport on Sept. 15 as they were trying to enter the country. The brokers are in police custody and the cheaters face deportation. 

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