Forty-six Thai students have been banned from the military for life after they tried to cheat in an army entrance examination by concealing cellphones in their shoes.

Army spokesperson Colonel Acar Tiproch said the students were found with phones in the soles of their shoes and pagers under their clothes by examiners using metal detectors before the multiple-choice test.

“This is the first time” students have been found using mobile phones in a bid to cheat, Acar said. Methods of cheating constantly changed and have even included students sending in their friends to sit the test for them, he said.

Students told investigators that their parents were approached by a group offering to help them cheat to secure a place at the army’s non-commissioned officer school, he added.

Media reports said the parents had paid 10 000 to 20 000 baht ($261 to $522) each for the shoe contraptions. Acar said the matter had been handed over to police.

Of the 17 000 sitting Sunday’s exam, only 1400 will be selected to study at the school.

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