Four primary school teachers accused of leaking internal admissions test questions to their friends pleaded not guilty to one count of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Monday.

The four defendants, aged 35 to 41, are all female teachers, Apple Daily reported. Three of them are employees at Church of Christ in China Heep Woh Primary School in Prince Edward and have been suspended following the incident. The last is a teacher at another primary school.

teacher leak
The four teachers accused of leaking the questions.

Senior promotional officer Chong Wai-chu, who was in charge of putting together the Primary One admission tests, said that the school had received 290 application forms in 2014 and 28 places would be offered. A staff briefing was held on June 13, 2014, a day before the admissions day. During the briefing, which was attended by the three defendants, the test papers and the marking schemes were given out, and everyone was given strict instructions that the contents of the tests must be confidential. The papers also had to be returned after the briefing.

At the briefing, Chong said that she saw one of the defendants, Cheng Ka-yee, put the test papers on her lap. Cheng appeared to be taking a picture of the contents of the paper with her phone, but Chong could not confirm this, so she did not intervene. Although the test papers did not bear a stamp stating that they were confidential, the teachers should have been professional enough to know that, she said.

kowloon city magistrates' court
Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court. Photo: Google Maps.

On the admissions day, a child appeared excited after receiving the test questions, and told the admissions teacher that his mother had gone over the exact same questions with him the night before. The child was a candidate referred to the school by one of the defendants. The Independent Commission Against Corruption then arrested three of the teachers on June 18, and the last defendant on August 4.

The first and the second defendant admitted under caution to taking pictures of the questions, while the third admitted to using the school computer to send the questions to friends via email. The fourth also allegedly sent copies of the leaked questions to others after having received them from the second defendant, Oriental Daily reported.

The hearing continues on Tuesday.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.