HIV data leak: Singapore authorities refute 'baseless allegations' made by Mikhy Brochez

HIV data leak: Singapore authorities refute 'baseless allegations' made by Mikhy Brochez

The man believed to be behind the HIV registry leak, Mikhy Brochez, has made "baseless allegations" about the investigations, and against the police and prisons, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Prison Service (SPS) in a joint statement on Wednesday (Feb 13). Lee Li Ying has more details.

SINGAPORE: The man believed to be behind the HIV registry leak, Mikhy Brochez, has made "baseless allegations" about the investigations, and against the police and prisons, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Prison Service (SPS) in a joint statement on Wednesday (Feb 13). 

READ: HIV data leak: ‘I reject any allegation MOH sought to cover up incident,’ says Gan Kim Yong

On Wednesday, a Facebook account purportedly belonging to Brochez published a post that claimed the allegations against him are "blatantly false".

Among those allegations were claims that there was another person involved in the HIV Registry leak, that Brochez was abused while in police custody, that he had contracted HIV while in prison and that he was denied HIV medication while serving his sentence.

"Brochez had been tried and found guilty by the Singapore Courts," both agencies said. 

"He has now made baseless allegations about the investigations as well as against Police and Prisons. His actions have shown him to be a pathological liar," noted the statement.

READ: HIV data leak: What we know about Mikhy Farrera Brochez

The joint statement said that the police had investigated the person Brochez claimed was behind the HIV data leak. The investigation - that included an interview and an examination of the man's electronic devices from his residence - did not reveal evidence that the man was either in possession of any files relating to the Ministry of Health (MOH), or had shared any HIV Registry data.

In the Facebook post, it was also suggested that Brochez was tortured while in police custody.

"This is untrue. This allegation was investigated by the police's Internal Affairs Office. The Office found that the allegations were untrue," read the statement.

READ: The leaking of Singapore’s HIV Registry records and the hunt for Mikhy Farrera Brochez: A timeline

In response to another allegation that Brochez was sexually assaulted and contracted HIV in prison, both agencies said that the claim of sexual assault was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department which found it to be untrue. Instead, Brochez was said to have committed a "litany of institutional offences, including assaulting a fellow inmate".

The statement also said that Brochez had contracted HIV years before he was admitted to prison in 2016, adding that this "is a matter of record".

Another claim made by Brochez was that he was denied HIV medication while serving his sentence.

The statement said this was untrue and noted that Brochez had declared himself to be HIV-positive since 2008 when he was admitted to prison, but refused to undertake the necessary blood tests.

"Prisons eventually checked with MOH, (given his refusal), and subsequently provided him with the necessary medication," read the statement.

READ: HIV data leak: Police will ‘spare no effort’ to bring Mikhy Farrera Brochez to justice

MOH also issued a statement on the issue, saying that Brochez "continues to make allegations which are either false or unsubstantiated with any evidence".

"The matter has been thoroughly investigated by both the Ministry of Health and the Police. Brochez was convicted in Court for fraud and various drug offences. Should new evidence emerge, we will investigate accordingly," the ministry said.

It also discounted Brochez's claim that the HIV Registry is used to target a group of men with a specific sexual orientation.

"The fact that there is such a registry is public knowledge and statistics on HIV infection rates from the HIV Registry are published annually," said MOH.

"Our priority remains the wellbeing of the affected individuals," it added.

"HOW CAN I LEAK SOMETHING THAT WAS ALREADY LEAKED?": BROCHEZ TO VICE NEWS

In addition to his claims in the Facebook post - which has since been taken down - Brochez also spoke to US current affairs channel VICE News, claiming that he did not steal the HIV Registry and that the data had already been leaked beforehand.

In an article published on Wednesday, VICE News reported that Brochez told them that he had shared the registry "because he wanted to prove that the sensitive, potentially stigmatising information it contains had already been exposed". He contended that there was a cover-up with regard to the HIV data leak.

"How can I leak something that was already leaked?” VICE News quoted him as saying.

As VICE News outlined the developments of the case and Brochez's claims against the Singapore government, it also noted inaccurate statements made by Brochez. 

For example, Brochez's claims that he attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, could not be corroborated by the media outlet.

Brochez had also alleged that he had obtained the HIV Registry data after his apartment was broken into. However, the year of the break-in given to VICE News was different to what Brochez had said in a police statement.

Calling Brochez a "pathological liar", Senior Minister of State for Health and Law Edwin Tong on Wednesday called out the American on several of his allegations.

"Mikhy Brochez lied about the identity of his mother, he lied about his own identity in his passport, he lied about his educational qualifications, he lied about his HIV positive status, and he is now lying about what he did," said Mr Tong in a Facebook post. "He is a pathological liar."

Source: CNA/aa

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