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Singapore

Police NSF accessed system to check team-mate's criminal case, posted photo on TikTok

He accessed his team-mate's file in the computer system and took a photo of his team-mate in handcuffs.

SINGAPORE: A full-time national serviceman with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) abused his access to the police computer system and accessed his team-mate's criminal file.

He found a picture in the system of his team-mate being handcuffed, took a photo of it and sent the photo to two WhatsApp groups. 

He also posted a video on TikTok with the photo as a background, depicting himself and another team-mate performing hand signs while lip-syncing to a background song.

Amirudin Shah Zainal, 23, was sentenced to three weeks' jail on Wednesday (Jan 25).

He pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Misuse Act of unauthorised access to data in a computer system belonging to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The court heard that Amirudin enlisted in January 2020 and was later posted to the public transport security command headquarters.

At the TransCom HQ, he was tasked with keying in details of fresh incidents in SPF's computer system called CUBICON 2.

He was granted login access for his official duties and knew he was not allowed to access cases that were not assigned to him.

Sometime before late January 2021, Amirudin discovered that a team-mate named in court only as Joe was arrested on suspicion of committing an offence. An entry was created in CUBICON 2 for Joe's case.

On Jan 28, 2021, while at TransCom HQ, Amirudin was logged into the computer system, performing his duties.

He decided to access Joe's criminal matter on CUBICON 2 and keyed in the relevant number to access the files.

While browsing, he discovered a photo of Joe being handcuffed in a lock-up room. The photo was not meant to be disseminated to the public.

Amirudin used his handphone to snap a photo of it.

He sent the photo he took to a WhatsApp chat group comprising other full-time NSFs in his team on Feb 6, 2021.

Later that same month, Amirudin was with another colleague at TransCom HQ performing their duties when Amirudin showed his colleague a TikTok video.

The video showed a tattooed man singing a Hokkien song. It was from a movie about teenage gangsters in Singapore.

THE TIKTOK VIDEO

Amirudin suggested to his colleague that they make a TikTok video using the photo of Joe and the song.

His colleague knew about Joe's photo, as he was part of the WhatsApp group that received the photo. He agreed.

Amirudin recorded an 8 sec-long video using his TikTok account, featuring himself and his colleague performing hand signs while lip-syncing to the background audio. 

The photo of Joe was used as the background image. Both Amirudin and his colleague were in SPF uniforms in the video, and Amirudin admitted that he made the video to make fun of Joe.

A day later, Amirudin sent this video to another WhatsApp chat that included two other people who were part of his team.

Amirudin sent the video again to the same group on Feb 24, 2021.

In July 2021, an anonymous informant submitted an I-Witness form on SPF's website, attaching the TikTok video.

The informant asked why a Singapore policeman could take videos with a poly student in handcuffs chanting "this kind of thing".

Investigations revealed that Amirudin had accessed Joe's file on a total of five occasions. He was not assigned nor authorised to access Joe's criminal matter at all times.

The prosecutor asked for between three and six weeks' jail. He said the offence was committed by a public servant during his duties as a police officer.

Amirudin was entrusted with access to CUBICON 2 to carry out his duties, and knowingly abused his position of trust, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Chew.

He said Amirudin's post-offending conduct heightens his culpability, as he sent the photo to two WhatsApp groups on several occasions.

His conduct could have compromised the integrity of police investigations into Joe's criminal matter, and Amirudin's motive was "completely frivolous", said Mr Chew.

Amirudin, who was accompanied in court by his father, said he was deeply remorseful for what he did and hoped for a fine.

"I brought shame to both my family and friends and to officers that I'm supposed to (show) a good example of," he said.

In response, the prosecutor said a fine would be unduly lenient.

The judge noted that there were multiple occasions of unauthorised access, and that the photo was circulated to two chat groups. He allowed Amirudin to talk to his father before being taken away.

In response to CNA's queries, SPF said that Amirudin has completed his National Service. It added that it will commence "internal action" against him.

The police said it initiated investigations into the case on Jul 30, 2021, when the offences were reported.

"The SPF has put in place measures and processes for reporting such incidents, and all complaints are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated," the police added.

"The use of all SPF systems is meant for official purposes only. Officers shall only access these systems for official work purposes and are not allowed to disclose information to any unauthorised person.

"The use of SPF systems is closely monitored and subjected to regular audits. Officers found misusing any SPF systems will be investigated and dealt with severely."

Source: CNA/ll(gr)

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