S'porean woman fined S$10,000 for leaking daily Covid-19 cases, breaching Official Secrets Act

She shared the confidential information on WeChat.

Faris Alfiq | August 23, 2021, 12:50 PM

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Tang Lin, a 36-year-old Singaporean woman, was fined S$10,000 on Aug. 20 for leaking confidential information pertaining to the number of daily Covid-19 cases before the Ministry of Health (MOH) released it to the public.

She pleaded guilty to five charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), and was fined S$2,000 for each charge, according to Yahoo News.

The offences took place between March and April of 2020.

Received leaked information from WeChat

Tang received confidential information from her acquaintance, Zhao Zheng, who was the deputy lead of MOH's data management unit.

Zhao allegedly leaked the confidential information to a WeChat group which Tang was in.

The police received a report on Apr. 16, 2020 from a member of public that the number of Covid-19 daily confirmed cases in Singapore had been leaked online.

The numbers were released even though MOH did not disclose it to the public yet.

Zhao allegedly shared the numbers unlawfully 22 times in March and April 2020.

Her case is pending before the court.

Yahoo News reported that Tang subsequently unlawfully shared the information to others.

Both Tang and Zhao were charged in April 2021.

MOH tightened information security protocols

In response to the leak, MOH said it takes a very serious view of any wrongful access and communication of information by their staff.

It also added that once MOH was informed that the police started investigations, the staff was suspended from work and access to the ministry's confidential information was terminated.

MOH further added that since then, the ministry has reviewed and tightened their information security protocols and processes.

For wrongful communication of information under the OSA, those found guilty could be jailed up to two years and fined up to S$2,000 for each charge.

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