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64 held for selling high tech gadgets to cheat in exams

Police in China have arrested at least 64 people suspected of selling hi-tech devices to help students cheat in country's annual college entrance exam being held on Monday in which nearly 10 million students are appearing.

world Updated: Jun 07, 2010 15:35 IST

Police in China have arrested at least 64 people suspected of selling hi-tech devices to help students cheat in country's annual college entrance exam being held on Monday in which nearly 10 million students are appearing.

Police arrested suspects from six crime groups, including 58 people in south eastern Fujian Province, over the past few days for selling high tech gadgets in the form of watches and other equipment which enabled the students to communicate with outsiders to get answers for the questions.

A number of devices, such as wireless earphones, signal emitters, scanner-imbedded pens and watches were confiscated, Lin Qitian, a provincial official in charge of college enrollment, told reporters.

Lin said police acted after mobile phone messages selling cheating devices or alleged exam contents were transmitted to students. These scam messages were sent out from eight mobile phone numbers controlled by crime groups.

Suspects arrested in Longyan city told police they had earned 7,900 yuan ($1158) from ten students selling these devices, Lin added.

To many Chinese students and their parents, the annual college entrance exam, known as "gaokao", is considered the most important exam in their lives.

Although higher education has become much more accessible to ordinary Chinese in the past decade, gaokao continues to play a critical role as the country's largest and best-trusted mechanism to offer China's most talented students the opportunity for university education.

More than 9.57 million high school students will sit for this year's exam, the education authorities said, and about 6.57 million will later be accepted at the nation's universities.

The exams assumed so much importance in the recent years that whole Chinese society gets mobilised to help create a sound environment for the students.

To make it easy for students the People's Court in Beijing said it will not taker up divorce cases of parents whose children were going to take the college entrance examination during the period, so that the "examinees" are not affected. Parents would have to wait until the exam ends to get a divorce, it said.

Beijing police have eased strict traffic restriction, which has been in place since the 2008 Olympic Games, exclusively for the examinees' families.

Jiangxi's Linchuan County advised all Internet Cafes to pause operation before the exam to avoid distracting examinees from reviewing their schoolwork.

In most parts of China, police, officials, teachers and volunteers will be dispatched to schools to oversee the exams. Traffic police are ready to give free rides to students during emergencies.

Local police have stepped up inspections on the examinees' identity documents after officials called for a crackdown on imposters.