January 29, 2019 – Confidential data on 14,200 foreigners and Singaporeans with HIV that had been kept by Singapore’s Health Ministry has been leaked online allegedly by a U.S. citizen, the ministry said this morning.
The ministry said the records of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed with the illness that leads to AIDS up to December 2011 had been stolen and leaked on the internet.
The data included their names, identification numbers, phone numbers and addresses, HIV test results and related medical information.
The person at the center of the storm is Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, the American HIV-positive partner of a male Singaporean doctor, Ler Teck Siang, who submitted his own blood to help Farrera-Brochez get an employment pass to stay in Singapore.
“The confidential information is in the illegal possession of” Farrera-Brochez, the ministry said.
Ler, who was formerly the head of the ministry’s National Public Health Unit, was sentenced to 24 months’ jail in November last year after being found guilty of helping the American, formerly a lecturer at a polytechnic, deceive the Ministry of Manpower into issuing him an employment pass in March 2008.
The American was convicted of numerous fraud and drug-related offences in March 2017 and sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment. After being released, he was deported from Singapore and is currently outside the city-state, the ministry said on yesterday.
While the availability of the data online has been disabled, there is a risk that it can still be publicly disclosed in the future as it is allegedly still in Farrera-Brochez’s possession.
The ministry said it had lodged a police report as far back as 2016 about Farrera-Brochez’s possession of the data.
Singapore has strict laws that requires foreigners working in the city-state to be free of HIV. Those who test positive are forced to leave the country.
In July last year, the personal data of 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen after hackers infiltrated the computers of SingHealth, Singapore’s largest group of healthcare providers.