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Jail for clinic assistant, property agent who redeemed face masks with NRIC numbers of patients, clients: Report

Jail for clinic assistant, property agent who redeemed face masks with NRIC numbers of patients, clients: Report

Ang Poh Lay (left) and David Chin Sing Chuin (right) outside the State Courts on Sep 27, 2021. (Photos: TODAY/Nuria Ling)

SINGAPORE: A clinic assistant and a property agent were sentenced on Monday (Sep 27) to jail after using patients' and clients' NRIC numbers to redeem free face masks, according to a report by TODAY.

The separate cases took place during Temasek Foundation's nationwide mask distribution exercise earlier this year, when each Singapore resident was entitled to collect one navy blue mask from Livinguard.

CLINIC EMPLOYEE

Clinic assistant Ang Poh Lay, 47, was sentenced to nine weeks' jail. The employee at Tan & Yik Clinic & Surgery in Bishan admitted to redeeming 26 masks, according to TODAY.

She pleaded guilty to cheating in relation to eight masks, and another charge of retaining the personal information of others without their consent to commit an offence. She is the first person to be prosecuted for the latter offence, TODAY reported.

Ang accessed the clinic's records between Mar 1 and Mar 7, identifying patients she assumed were elderly and had died, or maids who had left Singapore. She targeted them as she knew they were less likely to redeem their mask packs, the court heard.

She copied down the personal information of eight patients, and also admitted to retaining the details of 18 other patients.

Ang's offences were discovered when a victim lodged a police report on Mar 13, saying that she was unable to redeem her mask and was told someone else had collected it a few days before.

The victim confirmed that she received a screenshot from a Temasek foundation staff member of the person who had redeemed it, and she did not recognise this person. The authorities searched Ang’s home and seized 20 Livinguard face masks, TODAY reported.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Chee, who sought the sentence imposed, said that Ang's offences were not one-off and that she had misused her position as a clinic assistant.

Ang, who was unrepresented, told the court that she had realised her mistake, reported TODAY.

PROPNEX AGENT

In the second case, David Chin Sing Chuin was jailed one week for using 11 clients' details to redeem 11 masks. The man pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating, reported TODAY.

Chin worked for PropNex at the time of his offences. He obtained clients' NRIC numbers to prepare documents for the sale of their properties.

Between Mar 1 and Mar 14, he went to vending machines at various locations to redeem the masks with 10 clients' details, reported TODAY.

One victim complained to PropNex, which confronted Chin, and he declared he had only used clients’ details to redeem masks on one occasion.

A 76-year-old office cleaner who had engaged Chin to be his property agent lodged a police report on Mar 6, after realising someone else had used his NRIC number to redeem a mask.

Chin’s employment with PropNex was terminated on Apr 27, reported TODAY.

In mitigation, Chin told the court he had contacted the victims and offered to return the masks to them, sending one mask by mail on a victim's request.

He added: "I've been law-abiding for the past 59 years … This has been very traumatising and will be permanently etched as my biggest life mistake."

District Judge Ng Peng Hong agreed with the prosecution that a strong deterrent message should be sent that the courts will not condone such actions, TODAY reported.

Source: CNA/TODAY/dv

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