Public servant arrested over leak of police look-out message on Tampines stabbing suspect

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File photo of a person holding a mobile phone. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

(Updated: )

SINGAPORE: A 37-year-old public servant has been arrested for wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), said police on Monday (Feb 15). 

The man had allegedly taken a photograph of a police look-out message about the suspect of a stabbing incident in Tampines and shared it via WhatsApp with his friend, a 60-year-old man who was not authorised to receive the classified information.

The message was then further disseminated by the 60-year-old man to other unauthorised recipients, resulting in wider circulation of the information. 

READ: 2 arrested under Official Secrets Act for leak of MOE, MSF statement on schools closure, move to home-based learning

READ: Civil servant arrested under Official Secrets Act over leak of COVID-19 case numbers

The look-out message was issued at 7.30am on Feb 10 to various law enforcement agencies, after the suspect was identified. The stabbing incident in Tampines was reported at 6.30am. 

That same day, police were alerted to an image of the official document being posted on social media and circulated online via message applications. 

Police investigations are ongoing.

“The Government takes a serious view of any wrongful communication of confidential information and will deal firmly with anyone who does so,” said the police.

If found guilty of wrongful communication of information under the OSA, the man can be fined up to S$2,000 and jailed up to two years.

Those who further circulate the confidential information received may be similarly liable under the OSA.

READ: COVID-19: Public servant arrested under OSA for allegedly sharing classified information about Phase 2

In April last year, a public servant and her husband were arrested under the OSA for allegedly circulating a draft of a joint media statement announcing that schools were moving into full home-based learning and that pre-schools and student care centres would be closed as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The dissemination of the information had been done before it was officially released by the ministries. 

That same month, a civil servant was arrested for allegedly leaking COVID-19 case figures before they were officially released. She was also accused of accessing a Government COVID-19 database without authorisation to retrieve confidential records of a person who had tested positive for the virus and giving that information to a friend. 

In June, a public servant was arrested for sharing classified information on post circuit-breaker plans. 

He had shared information about Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening in a WhatsApp chat group, whose members were not authorised to receive classified information.

Responding to queries from CNA, police said that all three cases are still under investigation.

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