Chua Sah May, a 48-year-old Singaporean woman, was sentenced to seven months' jail on Monday (Jan. 17) for illegally redeeming 397 sets of face masks from vending machines distributed by Temasek Foundation.
She had pleaded guilty to one count of cheating.
In June 2020 and September 2020, Temasek Foundation distributed mask kits containing two reusable face masks per kit to every Singapore resident for free.
Each person was entitled to a pack of masks. They could redeem the masks by keying in their identity number at the designated Temasek vending machines.
Used foreign identification numbers to redeem masks
According to court documents seen by Mothership, Chua was working as a recruiter at the time of her offences.
She was outsourced to two companies— Clariant Singapore and Archroma Singapore.
She was then given the foreign identification numbers (FIN) of the companies' foreign employees so she could handle their payroll and work pass applications. She stored their FIN information in her hard drive.
However, Chua had wanted more masks for her own use during each of Temasek Foundation’s mask kits distribution.
Thus, she used the employees' FIN information without their authorisation to illegally redeem the masks.
In particular, Chua used the FIN information of foreign employees whom she believed had either left Singapore or could not enter Singapore due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, as she knew that they were less likely to redeem their mask kits.
Collected 397 Temasek mask kits
According to court documents, Chua went to Yio Chu Kang Community Club on 397 occasions and keyed in the FIN information of the foreign employees at the vending machines to redeem the mask kits.
She took a total of 397 mask kits worth S$3,176.
Temasek Foundation would not have so delivered the Temasek mask kits to her were it not so deceived, court documents stated.
Arrested after she was caught in CCTV
On Oct. 3, 2020, a sales manager for Clariant South East Asia lodged a police report after he tried to retrieve his face masks from the vending machine but was unable to do so as the system stated he had already redeemed his masks on Sep. 27, 2020.
CCTV footage on Sep. 27, 2020, showed Chua redeeming three Temasek mask kits from a vending machine.
She was subsequently arrested and surrendered 454 mask kits in her home to the police.
However "for hygiene reasons" the Temasek Foundation was unable to accept the mask kits, court documents stated.
Prosecution sought for at least seven months' jail
The prosecution had sought for at least seven months' jail for Chua, stating that she had "exploited an important initiative by the Temasek Foundation".
The Temasek Foundation estimated that a pair of the face masks may last for up to two months.
Which meant Chua took enough masks to theoretically last her a total of more than 66 years.Follow and listen to our podcast here:
Top images by Mothership.