Records of 14 200 Singapore HIV patients leaked online

A man pins an HIV awareness ribbon to his shirt. The HIV-positive status of thousands of people was leaked from a Singaporean database this month

A man pins an HIV awareness ribbon to his shirt. The HIV-positive status of thousands of people was leaked from a Singaporean database this month

US citizen Mikhy Farrera Brochez lived in Singapore from 2008 and was convicted in 2017 on numerous drug-related and fraud offences, including lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his own HIV status.

The ministry said it was working "with relevant parties to disable access to the information".

The affected individuals included 5,400 Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners who had been diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and December 2011, respectively. It is indeed curious that the ministry held out until the information was actually leaked to inform the public of the illegal possession of confidential records.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong apologised to the public yesterday and said: "We take a serious view of this matter".

Although access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in Brochez's possession and could be publicly disclosed again in the future.

The name, identification number, phone number and address of 2,400 individuals identified through contact tracing up to May 2007 were also included.

The ministry said that Brochez was deported after serving his jail term and was now overseas, but it did not say where. I have also had my fill of people who say we don't have to know everything, and that we should let the G handle everything.

MOH stressed that it will continue to regularly review its systems to ensure they remain secure and that the necessary safeguards are in place.




A two-person approval process to download and decrypt registry information was implemented to ensure that the data can not be accessed by a single person. "Our priority remains on the patients' well-being".

However, Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary, MOH, said the information remains in the hands of Brochez, an American who was deported after he was released from prison in April previous year for separate crimes, including drug offences and lying about his own HIV status in order to obtain an Employment Pass. "We will extend whatever assistance and support that we can for them".

"We are working with relevant parties to scan the Internet for signs of further disclosure of the information", it said, adding that Brochez now was under police investigation and local authorities were seeking assistance from their foreign counterparts. He also was charged under Singapore's Official Secrets Act for failing to adopt reasonable care with confidential data regarding HIV-positive patients.

"This may have led to an unauthorized person gaining possession of the data and disclosing it online", he said. It had, however, notified the individuals affected.

To successfully apply for an employment pass to stay here with his boyfriend, Farrera-Brochez submitted a HIV-negative test result to MOM in March 2008 using Ler's blood for the test.

The Singapore doctor was convicted last September of helping Brochez provide false information to police and health officials, and was sentenced to 24 months in jail.

He is appealing the two-year prison sentence he received and is scheduled to be heard in March 2019.

In May 2018, it was found that Brochez still had part of the records that he had in 2016, but the information did not appear to have been disclosed in any public manner.

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