Police have said they will not press charges relating to a 2015 diploma mill scandal, citing insufficient evidence.

The police were responding to queries from Apple Daily last month, but the paper did not report the news until Thursday. Authorities began investigating Lifelong College in 2015 for allegedly forging documents and fast-tracking degrees after the paper reported that it had backdated course entry dates to hasten the awarding of degrees.

lifelong college

Lifelong College was founded by Alex Lee Ye-lick, a member of the Lingnan University council in 1998. It offers students bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from partner universities abroad.

The police told Apple Daily that its Commercial Crime Bureau had completed its investigation into the college, and sought legal advice – but it ultimately decided that there was insufficient evidence to press charges.

Apple Daily previously reported that 17 police officers had received bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice from Tarlac State University in the Philippines through Lifelong College. Police told the paper in a recent response that “there is no evidence to prove that the relevant allegations are true.”

The Education Bureau declined to answer as to whether it would investigate further, or whether it would revoke the school’s license. It said that it has launched a series of measures to strengthen oversight of overseas courses, and requested that course operators keep documents related to courses for a specified period of time.

Lifelong College
Lifelong College. Photo: Facebook.

Others who received degrees from the school include actress Sisley Choi Si-pui, District Council member Anna Tang King-yung, and former Lingnan University Associate Vice President Herdip Singh. Singh was forced to resign in November 2015 amid an investigation into reports that he plagiarised his thesis from Tarlac State University.

The school is still listed on the Education Bureau’s website.

Ip Kin-yuen, a lawmaker in the education constituency, told Apple Daily that he was surprised at the investigation’s result, and said that the police and the Education Bureau should go into more detail about the reasons why they decided not to pursue the case any further.

He said that the Education Bureau could still look into the quality of the college’s programs using other methods.

“The most important thing is to maintain residents’ faith in overseas courses, otherwise many other schools will be affected.”

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.