Personal Details of 14,200 HIV-Positive Singaporeans Have Been Published Online

30 January, 2019, 00:46 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Mikhy Farrera-Brochez the man behind the leak lived in Singapore from 2008 onward before being jailed in 2017 for several fraud and drug-related offences and lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status

The database contains information related to HIV-positive individuals and is used to monitor the country's HIV infection status, facilitate contact tracing, and assess disease prevention measures.

Brochez was convicted in Singapore in 2017 on numerous drug-related and fraud offences, including lying to the authorities about his HIV-positive status.

The records leaked were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011.

This included each person's name, identification number, phone number and address, HIV test results and related medical information.

Brochez was deported after serving his jail term and was now overseas, according to the ministry statement, which did not say where.

"Going forward, we will continue to strengthen and to review our systems to ensure they are secure, and our priority remains the patients' well-being and we will extend whatever assistance and support that we can for them".

Although access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in Brochez's possession and could be publicly disclosed again in the future. Officials said his whereabouts are unknown.

In September 2018, he was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the Police and MOH, thus, he was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment.

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The MOH said he'd been aided in criminal activity by his partner, a Singaporean doctor who was formerly head of MOH's National Public Health Unit.

Anyone that comes across the information online is urged to report it immediately and "not further share it". The American was deported in May 2018, after which the Health Ministry was notified that he still held on to some records from 2016, though, the data then did not appear to have been exposed.

Singaporean officials assured the public that they had installed additional security measures to protect patients' health data in 2016, three years after Brochez stole the HIV files.

Brochez - who could not be reached for comment - is now under investigation by Singaporean police, "and the authorities are seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts", the statement said. "Police will not hesitate to take stern action, including prosecution, against those who have breached the OSA", said a spokesman.

Ler has been charged under the Official Secrets Act for failing to take reasonable care of confidential information regarding HIV-positive patients, and is out on bail.

To successfully apply for an employment pass to stay here with his boyfriend, Farrera-Brochez submitted a HIV-negative test result to MOM in March 2008 using Ler's blood for the test.

Sentenced to two years in jail, Ler is appealing against the sentence, with the hearing scheduled for March. At this point in time, did the authorities still believe there was no need to make public the news that some information had been stolen? "We have worked with the relevant parties to disable access to the information".

About eight months later, MOH found that Brochez could have illegal possession of more information from the HIV registry and that he had disclosed the information online.

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