Monday, August 16, 2010

Hong Kong ‘tutor king’ Karson Oten Fan Karno, known to the city by the pseudonym of ‘K. OTen’, applied for bankruptcy following a failed appeal. He was sued by the tutorial schools Modern Education and King’s Glory Education Centre for breach of contract and was sued for $8.87 million and $26 million respectively.

Karno is a well-known but controversial English tutor who taught under Modern Education and King’s Glory who claimed to have 9,000 students at the peak of his career. In his notes he used words which some parents considered coarse, and he reportedly used profanity in class. Modern Education accused him of printing large advertisements on buses without authorisation and lying by saying that he was the chief English tutor. He has also been accused previously of copyright infringement, but was not charged. A former student said that he ‘used slang in class, taught dating skills in notes, and was just like the students’ friend.’

Karno said that he is not only his family’s pillar, but is also a father. He explained that he could not afford to pay for lawyers while fighting alone against a large corporation. He decided to stake his reputation for the sake of his family by applying for bankruptcy. On Wednesday, he signed a contract with Contab Education as the chief English tutor and would continue to provide lessons twice a week. He also urged King’s Glory to patch up the monetary quarrels and strive to improve the city’s education instead.

A tutorial school sector worker stated that the application was expected, but feared that the incident will make the students think that one does not have to be responsible for one’s own actions. He went on to say that the incident may give the impression that tutors cannot be trusted, and that the image of the tutorial industry may be greatly affected.

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