Singapore

Public servant arrested under OSA

He had allegedly shared classified information about resumption of activities in phase two on WhatsApp chat group

A public servant has been arrested for allegedly leaking classified information to the public on the resumption of activities in phase two of the reopening of the Singapore economy before it was officially released.

The 50-year-old Singaporean man was arrested on Saturday for the offence of wrongful communication of information under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The police said they received a report on Friday that information about post-circuit breaker plans was circulating via WhatsApp messages among members of the public.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the man, who was an authorised recipient of the information, had allegedly shared it on Thursday with members of a private WhatsApp chat group not authorised to receive it.

The information was subsequently circulated widely, said the police, who added that they are still investigating the case.

On May 28, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that phase two of Singapore's exit from the circuit breaker will entail the resumption of a wider range of activities and the reopening of almost the entire economy.

The arrest on Saturday is the third case of public servants arrested under the OSA for allegedly leaking information during the outbreak.

On April 23, the police said they arrested a 35-year-old public servant under the OSA and Computer Misuse Act after she allegedly leaked the number of new daily Covid-19 cases here and retrieved a patient's records without authorisation.

The Singaporean woman had allegedly shared the information with a private WeChat group of people who were not authorised recipients. It was then disseminated further.

The police received a report on April 16 that the information was leaked on an Instagram story post before the Ministry of Health had officially released the figure.

Further investigations found that the woman, who was suspended by the ministry after her arrest, had shared the daily case figures with the group on several other occasions.

In another case on April 5, the police said they arrested a public servant and her husband under the OSA for allegedly leaking a draft media statement by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education on school closures due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

On April 3, the 37-year-old woman had allegedly taken a screenshot of the statement on her computer and shared it with her 38-year-old husband - an unauthorised recipient - on WhatsApp, who then shared it with his friends.

The offence of wrongful communication of information under the OSA carries with it a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment for up to two years.

The police said unauthorised recipients should not circulate the information received, as they may be similarly liable under the OSA.

COURT & CRIME