Interpol red notice issued against missing ex-principal involved in O-level cheating case

A 2018 file photo of Poh Yuan Nie. The police are appealing for information on her whereabouts. ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE – An Interpol red notice has been put out against missing former principal Poh Yuan Nie, who was sentenced to four years’ jail for cheating offences involving candidates in the 2016 O-level examinations.

Warrants of arrest have also been issued, said the police in a statement on Thursday.

The police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of the 57-year-old. Anyone with information is urged to call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000, or +65 6255-0000 for overseas callers, or submit it at 

The police said: “All information received will be kept strictly confidential. The police would like to remind the public that harbouring fugitives is a serious offence that is punishable with imprisonment and a fine.”

On Nov 23, 2022, a warrant of arrest was issued after Poh failed to show up in court to begin her jail term.

Poh, who ran a tuition centre, had faced 27 counts of cheating involving the O-level exams.

On Dec 22, 2022, Deputy Public Prosecutor Louis Ngia applied to the court for the warrant to be executed outside Singapore’s jurisdiction.

According to Interpol’s website, a red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or other legal action.

In 2020, Poh, also known as Pony, and her niece, Fiona Poh Min, were each convicted of 27 charges of engaging in a conspiracy to cheat. Fiona Poh was then sentenced to three years’ jail.

The prosecution said that Poh Yuan Nie was paid $8,000 per student for tuition to help them pass the O-level exams and enter local polytechnics.

Poh and her niece were assisted by tutors including Tan Jia Yan. On multiple occasions in October 2016, they committed cheating offences involving taping communication devices to the students’ bodies before they sat the exams.

Tan, then 34, was sentenced to three years’ jail in 2019 over her role in the cheating scam.

Tan sat the exams as a private candidate and used the FaceTime application to live-stream the questions to the tuition centre, where the accomplices would work on the questions and then communicate the answers to the students via the devices.

Poh oversaw the entire process, said the prosecution.

The ruse was exposed on Oct 24, 2016, when an invigilator heard unusual electronic transmission and voices coming from a student.

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