'Unable to attend session as I [have] Covid-19': S'porean charged for alleged lie to NTU researcher

He will return to court on June 14.

Jane Zhang | May 17, 2021, 07:42 PM

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[UPDATED on Monday, May 17 at 8:25pm: We have updated this article to include information from an NTU spokesperson about Chan's relationship with the university.]

A Singaporean man allegedly lied to an NTU researcher that he had contracted Covid-19 and was quarantined in September 2020.

On Monday (May 17), 40-year-old Paul Chan Kin Nang was charged for committing an offence under Section 14D of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

Sent an email saying he tested positive for Covid-19

According to court documents seen by Mothership, Chan sent an email on Sep. 6, 2020 to Lau Zen Juen, a researcher at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

In the email, Chan wrote, "Hi, I am unable to attend the session tomorrow as I am tested positive for Covid19 and is now quarantine in hospital," which he allegedly knew was false, as he had not tested positive for Covid-19.

Coincidentally, according to the Clinical Brain Lab's website, Lau — the researcher who Chan allegedly lied to — is currently working on "projects investigating the cognitive neuroscience of deception".

The email address that Chan allegedly sent the email to was listed in a Facebook post on Jul. 14, 2020 in a Facebook group called NTU Psychology Majors. It called for volunteer participants for a study on decision-making by NTU's Clinical Brain Lab.

The study requires participants between the ages of 21 and 45 who are right-handed, and who have no current or history of disorders, learning disabilities, or criminal records.

Police report was made after claim found to be false

Responding to Mothership's queries, an NTU spokesperson confirmed that Chan is a member of public who was a volunteer participant in a social science study conducted at the university.

After receiving Chan's email claiming that he had tested positive for Covid-19, NTU promptly checked with the authorities to verify whether Chan was indeed a confirmed Covid-19 case, for contact tracing purposes.

After his claim was found to be false, a police report was made.

The NTU spokesperson added that Chan is no longer participating in the study.

The reason why Chan allegedly chose to deceive Lau in this manner was not stated in the court document, nor was this information provided by the NTU spokesperson.

Faces fine of up to S$10,000 or prison term of up to 3 years

If found guilty of transmitting a message that he knew to be false, Chan faces a fine of up to S$10,000 or a prison term of up to three years.

Chan will return to court on Jun. 14, reported The Straits Times.

Top photo via NTU website.