SINGAPORE: A male Singaporean student, below 16 years old, is assisting police in investigations into a fake Prime Minister’s Office notice on Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
On Friday (Mar 20) the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a news release on Friday (Mar 20), saying that at about 10pm on Wednesday, police were alerted to multiple messages that were being circulated regarding a screenshot photograph of a statement purportedly from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website. The PMO lodged a police report on Wednesday night.
Police established the identity of the suspect within 24 hours, SPF said. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect was believed to have modified an earlier 2010 PMO media statement hosted on the PMO website and subsequently sent out a photo of the modified content.
“The suspect is a male Singaporean student, below 16 years of age, and is believed to have operated alone,” SPF added.
The student is assisting the police with investigations for the offence of Access with Intent to Commit or Facilitate Commission of Offence under Section 4(1) of the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, Chapter 50A, which carries a punishment of a fine not exceeding S$50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both.
The doctored image prompted broadcasters CNN and CCTV to post erroneous tweets and report inaccurately that Mr Lee had died.
Mr Lee, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, is currently critically ill in the Intensive Care Unit at the Singapore General Hospital. He has been in hospital for more than a month, after being admitted for severe pneumonia on Feb 5.
Acting Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sekher Warrier, advised members of public not to spread falsehoods. SPF said it takes a very stern view against anyone who doctors a Government website to spread false information to deceive the public. Individuals who do so must be prepared to face the consequences under the law, police stated.