An American man has leaked confidential data, including identification numbers and contact details, of 14,200 people diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus in Singapore, the city-state’s health ministry said on Monday, according to Reuters.
The hack comes after the records of 1.5 million patients, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, were stolen last year.
The leaked records relate to 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed as HIV-positive before January 2013, and 8,800 foreigners diagnosed before December 2011, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. The leaked data include patient names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results and medical information, according to CNN.
According to the ministry’s statement, US citizen Mikhy Farrera Brochez was in possession of information that appeared to be from the HIV registry. Brochez lived in Singapore from 2008 and was convicted in 2017 for drug-related and fraud offences, including lying to the Ministry of Manpower about his HIV status. He was deported last year, but the ministry did not specify to where.
Brochez had tested HIV positive and used his Singaporean partner’s blood sample to pass blood tests so that he could work in Singapore, the ministry said. Brochez’s husband, Ler Teck Siang, was the former head of the National Public Health Unit under the health ministry, who had access to the HIV registry for his work, the ministry said.
Foreigners who were HIV positive were barred from entering Singapore until 2016. At present, HIV-positive foreigners are barred from receiving employment visas or permanent residence status.
In September 2018, Ler was convicted of abetting Brochez to commit cheating, and also of providing false information to the police and the health ministry. Brochez is currently under investigation by the Singaporean police.
Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong apologised for the data leak, according to BBC. Health department official said they had tried to contact permanent resident and Singaporeans on the list, but had only managed to inform about 900 people.