SINGAPORE: Three Singaporean men were charged with committing corruption and computer misuse offences involving subscriber information from Singtel and StarHub, said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) on Wednesday (Dec 16).
Two of the men - Foo Cheek Ann Kelvin and Zhang Jiazheng - allegedly helped a 37-year-old man named Lee Cheng Yan retrieve confidential customer details, such as billing addresses, from Singtel and StarHub without authority.
The third man - Lim Zong Xian Philbert - allegedly gave Lee S$1,000 for procuring some of the confidential details.
SINGTEL, STARHUB CUSTOMER DATA ACCESSED WITHOUT AUTHORITY
Foo, 32, worked as a retail consultant at Singtel subsidiary Telecom Equipment at the time of offence.
He was charged with one count of corruptly agreeing to accept S$180 from Lee in 2016, in return for retrieving confidential Singtel customer details.
Foo was also charged with 15 counts of knowingly using a computer at his workplace to access Singtel subscriber data without authority between 2014 and 2017. The data included the address of Lee's ex-girlfriend.
Zhang, 38, worked as a customer care consultant at StarHub at the time of offence.
He was charged with nine counts of knowingly using a computer at his workplace to access StarHub subscriber data without authority between 2015 and 2017.
Lim, 33, was charged with three counts of corruptly giving Lee a total of S$1,000 in 2017, as inducement for procuring the customer details from the two telcos.
Lee was charged in 2018 for one count of corruptly giving S$180 to Foo for the Singtel customer details, as well as three counts of corruptly receiving the S$1,000 from Lim for the StarHub and Singtel customer details.
Lee has also already been charged with 25 counts of abetment by instigating Foo and Zhang to knowingly use a computer at their workplaces to secure access without authority to data in Singtel's and StarHub's systems.
Lee's case is still before the court, said CPIB.
"Singapore adopts a strict zero-tolerance approach towards corruption," said CPIB.
"Any person who is convicted of a corruption offence can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to 5 years or to both."
Zhang and Foo are set to plead guilty next month while Lim will return to court next month.
StarHub said in a statement on Wednesday that it immediately removed Zhang's access to its system and suspended him from all duties when the case first arose three years ago.
Internal investigations concluded that Zhang had breached its Employee Code of Conduct, and he was subsequently terminated, said StarHub.
The telco added that it has since tightened its systems and processes, and conducted additional staff awareness training on data protection.
"StarHub takes data security and privacy very seriously," said StarHub.
"As the matter is now before the courts, it is not appropriate for us to comment on the ongoing judicial proceedings" it added.
Singtel said Foo's employment was "immediately terminated" once the company was aware of his wrongdoing.
"Singtel has a zero-tolerance policy for such misconduct and we expect our employees to serve with integrity and honesty," the company said.
"We continue to reinforce our security measures to protect our data and hold regular Code of Conduct and Data Protection Policy training for all our staff."