Police NSF illegally accessed teammate's files, took pic of him in handcuffs, shared it on WhatsApp and TikTok

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Jan 25, 2023

A full-time national serviceman (NSF) with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) used a workplace computer system to unlawfully access the files of a teammate who had been arrested earlier.

Amirudin Shah Zainal, who has since completed his NS, then took a photo of a picture showing the man being handcuffed and shared it with a group on messaging platform WhatsApp.

To make fun of the teammate, Amirudin later recorded an eight-second video clip on his TikTok account using the picture he had taken as the background image.

Amirudin and his then colleague Amos Lee Zhen were in their police uniforms when Amirudin recorded the video, which shows the pair gesturing with their hands while lip-syncing to a song from 15, a movie about teenage gangsters in Singapore.

After that, Amirudin shared the video with another WhatsApp group.

On Wednesday, Amirudin, 23, was jailed for three weeks after pleading guilty to an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.

Court documents did not disclose the outcome of Mr Lee’s involvement in the case nor details about the teammate or why he was arrested.

Amirudin enlisted in SPF on Jan 4, 2020, and was posted to the Public Transport Security Command Headquarters (TransCom HQ) in Soon Wing Road, near Aljunied Road.

He was tasked with entering details of fresh incidents in SPF’s computerised record system called Cubicon 2.

In July 2020, he was granted login access to Cubicon 2 for official duties and knew that he was not authorised to access cases that were not assigned to him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Chew said that Amirudin got to know the teammate while at the TransCom HQ.

Some time before Jan 28, 2021, Amirudin discovered that the man had been arrested, and an entry about the latter’s case was created on Cubicon 2 with a specific incident number.

On Jan 28, 2021, while at the TransCom HQ, Amirudin used the incident number to access files on the man’s criminal matters.

He used his mobile phone to take a photo of a picture of the man being handcuffed, and on Feb 6, 2021, sent the picture to a WhatsApp chat group called “Complacent X Intakecare”.

Members of the group included 17 other NSF police officers who were part of his TransCom team but were not assigned or authorised to access that teammate’s files.

On Feb 17, 2021, Amirudin showed Mr Lee a TikTok video of a tattooed man singing a Hokkien song from the movie 15.

The DPP told the court: “The accused then suggested to Amos that they make a TikTok video using the photograph and the song. Amos, who was aware of the photograph as he was a member of the WhatsApp group, agreed to the suggestion.”

Amirudin recorded the video, and on Feb 18, 2021, he sent the video to a WhatsApp chat group called “Mentos and Mentees”, which included two other NSF police officers who were part of his TransCom team.

Amirudin also shared the video with the “Complacent X Intakecare” group.

An anonymous informant alerted the police about the video on July 30, 2021.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor urged the court to sentence Amirudin to between three and six weeks’ jail, adding: “The accused’s motive for committing the offence was completely frivolous.”

The police said in a statement that they will start internal action against him following the court proceedings on Wednesday.

A police spokesman added: “The SPF has put in place measures and processes for the reporting of such incidents, and all complaints are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
“The use of all SPF systems is meant for official purposes only. Officers shall access these systems only for official work purposes and are not allowed to disclose information to any unauthorised person. The use of SPF systems is closely monitored and subject to regular audits.”

Officers found misusing any SPF system will be investigated and dealt with severely, said the spokesman.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.