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The Straits Times
Jan 17, 2023
A swab assistant and a centre site manager misappropriated over $14,000 worth of antigen rapid test (ART) kits from the Covid-19 test centre where they worked and then sold some of them on e-marketplace Carousell for a profit.
The duo did so between September and October 2021, after discovering that an employee at the Tekka quick test centre in Little India had accidentally over-ordered the kits from the Health Promotion Board (HPB).
To cover up the mistake, Audrey Sau assisted Deng Xiangying, the centre’s site manager, to misappropriate the 103 additional boxes of ART kits, worth $14,162.50 in total.
On Tuesday, Sau, 24, was sentenced to two weeks’ jail after she pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonest misappropriation of property and one charge under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
Deng was sentenced to three weeks’ jail last November for her role in the crime.
In September 2021, Sau was working as a swab assistant at the Tekka quick test centre, which provided supervised Covid-19 tests to the public during the pandemic.
Around Sept 19, 2021, Deng realised the stock of available ART kits had been miscalculated, causing the centre to over-order the kits from the HPB.
Deng was worried that she and Sau would be in trouble with the HPB, and they decided to take the kits home. On Sept 19, 2021, Sau took two cartons’ worth of kits from the centre.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang said that a colleague of theirs helped to carry the third carton out and loaded it into a van driven by Deng’s sister.
Subsequently, Sau and Deng realised they could sell the kits on Carousell for a profit. Between Sept 29 and Oct 1 that year, they sold 44 boxes to 19 customers, earning $5,363.70. Each box was sold for $100 to $140.
Sau and Deng were subsequently arrested after a police report was lodged on Oct 1, 2021, informing the authorities of their wrongdoings. The remaining 59 boxes they took were recovered during investigations. The pair were ordered to compensate the HPB for the ART kits they had sold.
Those found guilty of dishonestly misappropriating property can be jailed for up to two years, fined or both.