Singapore's medical records of HIV-positive residents and foreign visitors have been leaked online. The country's Ministry of Health (MOH) said an American who previously worked in the Southeast Asian city state is responsible for the data leak.
Singapore's HIV Records Leaked
The Health Ministry said on Monday that Mikhy Farrera Brochez, an HIV-positive U.S. citizen who lived in Singapore from January 2008 and June 2016, leaked the confidential information of 14,200 Singaporeans and visiting foreigners who were diagnosed with the HIV virus.
The leak affected 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV before January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed before December 2011.
The records include the names of the patients, their HIV test results, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and other health information.
Mikhy Farrera Brochez
Brochez was HIV positive but used blood samples from his partner so he could pass blood tests and work in Singapore as a lecturer.
While working in Singapore, he received awards and recognition for teaching excellence and published articles in scientific journals and books on child psychology. Investigations, however, revealed that the certificates he used to apply for jobs with educational institutions in Singapore were fake.
He was convicted in 2017 on numerous drug-related and fraud offenses.
Brochez was deported in May 2018 after serving jail time and is now overseas, albeit the ministry did not say where.
His partner, Ler Teck Siang, is a Singaporean doctor who headed ministry's National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013 and had access to confidential information from the HIV registry.
The ministry did not say how Brochez obtained the information. It neither cited the American's motive for leaking the information online, but Ler Teck Siang had been charged under the Official Secrets Act for mishandling the confidential information.
Ler was also convicted last September for helping Brochez cheat and providing false information to the health ministry and the police.
Brochez Still In Possession Of Confidential Records
The MOH discovered that Brochez had the confidential records in 2016 and reported this to police, which searched his and Ler's properties and seized all relevant material.
In May 2018, however, the ministry realized Brochez still had parts of the records, so it lodged another police report.
On Tuesday, the ministry was notified that more information could be in Brochez's possession and these had been leaked online.
The ministry said is it working with relevant parties to scan the internet for signs of further data leak.
"While access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in the possession of the unauthorised person, and could still be publicly disclosed in the future," the MOH said in a statement.