HONG KONG (AFP) - One of Hong Kong's top "celebrity tutors", who rose to prominence by promising exam success to under-pressure students, has been charged by the city's anti-corruption bureau for leaking questions from public university entrance papers.
Cut-throat competition in Hong Kong's education system has spawned famous and sought-after tutors who claim to transform students into A-grade pupils by providing exam skills training, tips-sharing and even predictions of test questions.
Siao Chi-yung, also known as Siu Yuen professionally, carved out a lucrative career based on his apparent knack for forecasting test questions correctly in public exams.
Local media has reported that Siao raked in an annual salary of HK$16 million (S$2.71 million) as a teacher of Chinese language, which is a core subject of the Hong Kong school curriculum.
But Siao, 42, is now facing charges related to illegally obtaining confidential exam material.
Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption alleged that a probe had revealed that a former examiner and Siao's wife had used their smartphones to send him confidential questions from Chinese language tests for university entrance exams.
Siao faces two joint charges of conspiracy to obtain access to a computer with dishonest intent, along with two former Chinese examiners.
He faces a third joint charge with his wife, Tsai Ying-ying, of accessing a computer with dishonest intent.
Tsai is also a Chinese language tutor at the same tutorial school, Modern Education.
The school was not immediately reachable for comment.
Schools build up the profile of their impeccably-styled tutors by having them dress in suits and party dresses for marketing campaigns which resemble ads for TV shows or music stars.
Hong Kong parents, often desperate to help their children succeed in the city's intense public-exam system, are more than willing to shell out large sums for extracurricular help.
University places are particularly highly prized - only 40 per cent of students who took the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Exam qualified with their scores last year.
Competition between rival tutorial schools is also intense.
Hong Kong's best-known celebrity tutor Lam Yat-yan rejected an annual pay offer of HK$85 million in 2015, put forward by Modern Education in a newspaper advert as an attempt to poach him away from his employer.
Mr Lam remained at rival tutorial school Beacon, where he was reportedly earning at least HK$42.5 million per year.