Cop jailed for misuse of computer system

SINGAPORE - A police officer who illegally accessed the Ministry of Home Affairs' computer system to find out if his wife's former lover had filed a police report against him was jailed for 18 weeks on Monday.

Sergeant Lim Ming Kian, 30, from the Central Police Division's Compliance Management Unit, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of computer misuse by retrieving information from the Frontline Officers' Computerised System (Focus) between July and November 2011. Focus enables authorised officers to lodge police reports and carry out searches on reports filed by members of the public.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tang Shangjun said that two months into the marriage, Lim's wife asked for a divorce in May 2011. Lim did not know then that she had been having an affair with Mr Nicholas Lee Ming Hong, then 29. In July, she decided to end her affair and tried to reconcile with Lim. A month later, Mr Lee received threatening e-mail and phone calls, accusing him of having "stolen" another man's wife.

When Lim was confronted by his wife, he denied making those threats and accusations. In November, the flat Mr Lee shared with his elder brother Sean was padlocked and splashed with paint. Lim's wife again confronted her husband, and again, he denied the allegations.

Worried that Mr Nicholas Lee would file a police report against him, Lim started accessing Focus without authorisation to search for any report that Mr Lee might have lodged against him. The offences came to light after Mr Sean Lee, then a 34-year-old teacher, made a police report of alleged harassment by unlicensed moneylenders on Nov 22.

Six days later, Mr Sean Lee discovered that his name and identity card number and those of his younger brother were spray-painted on the gate of the school that he was teaching at. He suspected that a police officer was involved.

Police conducted an audit trail of the Focus search logs and discovered the instances of unauthorised access by Lim. DPP Tang said there is no evidence linking Lim to the alleged harassment at the Lees' flat, or the threatening phone calls or e-mail.

Lim could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to two years on each charge.

elena@sph.com.sg


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