American leaks details of Singapore HIV patients online

Personal Details of 14,200 HIV-Positive Singaporeans Have Been Published Online

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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. The information included each person's name, identification number, phone number and address, HIV test results, and related medical information. The ministry said they were "progressively contacting the individuals" affected to inform them they had been doxxed.

The ministry revealed that in May 2016, it was made aware of Brochez' possession of confidential information that appeared to be from the HIV Registry, and upon making a police report, both Ler and Brochez' property was searched by the police, and all relevant material found was seized and secured. He has since been deported from Singapore and remains outside its shorelines.

People walk past the skyline of the central business district along the Marina Bay Promenade in Singapore April 10, 2017.

The hack comes just months after the records of 1.5m Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen previous year.

Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, 33, had met Singaporean general practitioner Ler Teck Siang, 36, online. Ler, who is still a registered doctor, has been sentenced to two years in jail for abetment of cheating and for giving a false statement to a public servant.

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The duo at the centre of the HIV Registry leak were boyfriends who hatched a plot to trick the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) into issuing one of them an employment pass (EP).

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.

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

He added: "I also understand the concerns, the anxiety and distress faced by our affected patients and our priority is their well-being".

Singaporean officials assured the public that they had installed additional security measures to protect patients' health data in 2016, three years after Brochez stole the HIV files. Those with information or concerns can call the MOH hotline on 6325-9220.

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Police are investigating and authorities are seeking help from foreign counterparts.

"Police will not hesitate to take stern action, including prosecution, against those who have breached the OSA".

"This incident is believed to have arisen from the mishandling of information by [the doctor], who is suspected of not having complied with the policies and guidelines on the handling of confidential information", the ministry said.

"This may have led to an unauthorized person gaining possession of the data and disclosing it online", he said. He was charged in court in June 2016 for offences under the Penal Code and the Official Secrets Act. Farrera-Brochez was remanded in prison.

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.

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Ler had drawn blood from his left arm earlier that day and labelled the test tube with Farrera-Brochez's particulars.

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