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mr_hippo

Fake Degrees

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Whenever I read a thread that starts with “My friend has a problem...” or “I know someone who…”, I am tempted to write “Cut the crap and start again using the first person!” So this is about me.

First of all, a bit about myself - I left school with GCE ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ levels which included English Language and English Literature. Very few of my generation went straight from school to university and I can’t remember anyone from my year that did. I went into nursing and have over 20 post-nominal letters after my name.

I settled in Thailand in 2002 and my nursing qualifications counted for nothing – nursing, when I qualified, was not a degree subject in the UK

Two of us from the same TEFL school found employment in a school in Nawamin, Bangkok and neither of us had a degree! We were advised by senior staff there to get fake degrees and then we would be able to get work permits and teacher’s licences which were duly issued. I left the school in 2004.

Fast forward to last Monday ( 4th), my extension based an marriage to a Thai would be approved for one more year and as my wife works not too far from there, she decided to go and leave me at home. Immigration phoned me at 1 o’clock to tell me that I have to go in person to sign a few papers; I thought that we had signed everything on the first visit! I phoned my wife and said that I would meet her there.

After waiting for about an hour, we were ushered up to the 5th floor (Immigration Police) where I was accused of using a fake degree – there’s no point in lying about it, is there?

So at about 5pm, I found myself in the Immigration Detention Centre in one cell with about 80 other odds & sods of various nationalities, no bedding and only a hard floor to try and sleep on. Tuesday (5th) was a holiday so my appearance in court would have to be today. I appeared before the court this afternoon and the case is being investigated further. I am now out on bail. The best result that I can hope for is a small fine and told to go back to England for a new visa.

I know there are others who have worked or are still working with fakes and I was told by Immigration Police that they are actively investigating over 60 more cases. I left that school 5 years ago so you have been warned.

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Whenever I read a thread that starts with “My friend has a problem...” or “I know someone who…”, I am tempted to write “Cut the crap and start again using the first person!” So this is about me.

First of all, a bit about myself - I left school with GCE ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ levels which included English Language and English Literature. Very few of my generation went straight from school to university and I can’t remember anyone from my year that did. I went into nursing and have over 20 post-nominal letters after my name.

I settled in Thailand in 2002 and my nursing qualifications counted for nothing – nursing, when I qualified, was not a degree subject in the UK

Two of us from the same TEFL school found employment in a school in Nawamin, Bangkok and neither of us had a degree! We were advised by senior staff there to get fake degrees and then we would be able to get work permits and teacher’s licences which were duly issued. I left the school in 2004.

Fast forward to last Monday ( 4th), my extension based an marriage to a Thai would be approved for one more year and as my wife works not too far from there, she decided to go and leave me at home. Immigration phoned me at 1 o’clock to tell me that I have to go in person to sign a few papers; I thought that we had signed everything on the first visit! I phoned my wife and said that I would meet her there.

After waiting for about an hour, we were ushered up to the 5th floor (Immigration Police) where I was accused of using a fake degree – there’s no point in lying about it, is there?

So at about 5pm, I found myself in the Immigration Detention Centre in one cell with about 80 other odds & sods of various nationalities, no bedding and only a hard floor to try and sleep on. Tuesday (5th) was a holiday so my appearance in court would have to be today. I appeared before the court this afternoon and the case is being investigated further. I am now out on bail. The best result that I can hope for is a small fine and told to go back to England for a new visa.

I know there are others who have worked or are still working with fakes and I was told by Immigration Police that they are actively investigating over 60 more cases. I left that school 5 years ago so you have been warned.

Thanks for sharing your story, it is a very sobering lesson. Like you I am of the generation for whom getting a Degree was highly unlikely. I started work at 13 'up at mill' though I still managed to study part time and earned some 'O' levels. But the idea of going to University was beyond my wildest dreams. Something only for the Rich. Being able to go had nothing to do with intellect or aptitude, in those days it was purely about money and family contacts.

So far here in Thailand I have simply refused to 'pretend' to be a Graduate, and so earn far less than I could. However I am still 'illegal' since I cannot get a Licence, proper Visa or Work Permit. I persist simply because my Thai wife begs me to. Though she has lived in the UK she wants to be Home in Thailand now that we are both Geriatrics.

Anyway Thanks again. Can I please suggest you consider posting the same information in other Forums. Such as on TEFL.net, or Ajarn.com ? I know it will be beneficial to others considering taking the same risks.

Best Wishes. I sincerely hope it all works out relatively painlessly.

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Whenever I read a thread that starts with “My friend has a problem...” or “I know someone who…”, I am tempted to write “Cut the crap and start again using the first person!” So this is about me.

Can you elaborate on how Immigration had your Degree to check?

You stopped teaching 5 years ago... Or at least left the school that gave you the Work Permit.

Did they go that far back to check?

Did you submit it with your last Extension package?

Are you still teaching with a WP now?

A little clarification would be helpful.

Thanks.

CS

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Whenever I read a thread that starts with “My friend has a problem...” or “I know someone who…”, I am tempted to write “Cut the crap and start again using the first person!” So this is about me.

Can you elaborate on how Immigration had your Degree to check?

You stopped teaching 5 years ago... Or at least left the school that gave you the Work Permit.

Did they go that far back to check?

Did you submit it with your last Extension package?

Are you still teaching with a WP now?

A little clarification would be helpful.

Thanks.

CS

I do not think that I have the full information yet but as far as I know

The school in question reported me to the police last year, why? This is just supposition on my part; they were being investigated and offered me and possibly others as 'plea bargaining chips'.

I do not know how far back they are checking

No, I have been on a marriage extension so have not submitted it for my last few extensions

I have been retired for three years now so do not need a work permit

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Wow. What an interesting read.

Basically, if you have used a fake degree once, no matter how long ago, it could come back to haunt you...

If you left that school 5 years ago, and this has just recently happened, it sounds like, like you said, you have been used as a scape goat; 'plea bargaining chips'.

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Scary but very interesting news. Many thanks for alerting us, Mr. Hippo- and yet another good reason to tell everyone: DON'T USE A FAKE DEGREE in Thailand. It's not absolutely necessary and it's not safe.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out, Mr. H. I hope your relatively cooperative behaviour will help you to come back soon. In this case, I would also suggest that you immediately (as if by coincidence) list the school in our "Schools You Wouldn't Recommend" to a friend so we can spread the word to ALL of our friends not to work at that school.

Sadly, I suspect they will get away with only minor penalties for the crime of conspiring with you to commit fraud.

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I understand that it's the school's responsibility to check the authenticity of qualifications and as they make the application for the work permit, then surely they are the ones committing an offence and not you. However, this is Thailand and we know that law and regulations are interpreted at the discretion of an individual police/immigration/labour officer.

Do you know if the school paid tax on your behalf to the revenue department? This may be the reason why they are being investigated.

Was it a fake degree from KSR or was it a life experience degree off the internet?

Anyway, good luck.

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It is surprising that the Immigration had a copy of the degree, maybe you presented it to them at the beginning, or as others have implied the school got into trouble about Taxes, and the tax people checked everything. However, would the immigration police phone the University that was given on the Fake degree, I doubt that. I think the school admitted to telling you to get a fake degree, as they had not paid tax for you, even though you had the work permit. Then the tax office informed Immigration. And then they came for you.

I think others will be found out soon.

I worked at a University here in Bangkok, and it was their job to check my degree before I was issued a work permit. Most schools are too lazy to do so.

By the way please let us all know how you get on, and all the best, hope that you do not have to leave, but if you do that your return is quick and unproblematic.

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Some years back it was not necessary for the school to check the degree--and it was rather hard. The MOE accepted/rejected the degree. Then they put out a regulation (2years ago?) that all degrees had to be verified. Since then, we have checked all degrees. Several years ago, it was quite difficult to check them--a lot of schools were slow to respond--some very slow and always asking for more and more information.

Now, most Universities--at least the ones in the US--use a clearing house and it takes a matter of hours to get a verification on a relatively recent degree. Some of the older degrees take 3-5 days.

The MOE has sharpened their eyes though. In a routine visit to our school, they looked at the degrees and pulled one out and said it was a fake. It turned out it was. We then went through the degrees and found several that were suspicious--things like the same signatures, but a different school. None of those teachers are currently with us. I wasn't involved in the hiring of any of those teachers, but they represented themselves as University graduates and even talked about how much they were worth. A couple of them were very good teachers--one wasn't.

Of course the first thing they did was list the name of our school on the "wouldn't recommend thread." I was a bit miffed because we did everything in our power to ease their transition out of the school. Full benefits, given the option of completing their contract etc. My experience since has not to be as nice to those presenting suspect degrees.

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It's just got me wondering how long the Thai authorities are required/in practice keep paper records for. About 3 years ago I was given a work permit(not for teaching) and they said they wanted to evaluate the situation - so they gave me 1 month. I had to apply again and instead of just giving say some updates I had to supply all the paperwork over again and you know how many rainforests had to be felled for that little lot - as in a new request - which they subsequently denied. It just got me thinking that there must be mountains of paperwork somewhere in the country if they keep them as you say for 5 years and probably more.

As an aside I wonder if your situation came to light after say 10 or 15 years whether the statute of limitations applies.

Please keep us updated about the outcome.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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Update

I have an appointment with the probation officer on Tuesday. We rescheduled it fron last Friday as my wife had a business meeting and would not be able to attend as my translator.

Mrs Hippo spoke to the family lawyer and he seems to think that it is a good sign that I was not sentenced straight away.

I am not prepared to name the school in the BangKapi area yet. The English department that I was in had as its head a very small, religious, non-Thai, little woman who had a few habits that she changed every day. To most people she is like a Sister. No rather not mention the name yet, I may get sent to Perpetual hel_l.

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At least some good news.

Nice hints, taken on board, someone on TV is asking about directions to that School.

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I understand that it's the school's responsibility to check the authenticity of qualifications and as they make the application for the work permit, then surely they are the ones committing an offence and not you. However, this is Thailand and we know that law and regulations are interpreted at the discretion of an individual police/immigration/labour officer.

Do you know if the school paid tax on your behalf to the revenue department? This may be the reason why they are being investigated.

Was it a fake degree from KSR or was it a life experience degree off the internet?

Anyway, good luck.

Err, OP knowingly submitting fake degree is fully responsible for his actions. This being Thailand he might have some hope of getting away with this. Be it US or UK he would have been deported already without any hope in getting back.

Seems that we need also "teatchers you would not recommend to a friend" forum here in Thaivisa naming and shaming dishonest teachers the same way schools are named here.

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Thanks for being Honest and up front Mr Hippo.,,,,,

And I really hope everything works out ok for you.

Colino

In the UK it could have brought charges of Fraud and gaining money by deception.

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BANGKOK 26 July 2017 23:28
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