The Singapore Prison Services (SPS) on Sunday (17 February) said that it has filed a police report over an email sent by American conman Mikhy Farrera-Brochez containing the confidential data of 13 HIV-positive individuals.
The email was sent to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam as well as media organisations, including Yahoo News Singapore, Singapore broadsheet The Straits Times, US-based Lexington Herald Leader and Vice News, on Saturday.
It contained photos of a scrap of paper with a list of NRIC/FIN numbers of these HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)-positive individuals, including Brochez, 34, who were scheduled for a medical check-up on 28 March last year in Changi Prison Complex, said the SPS.
It added that Brochez appeared to have “secured unauthorised possession of a copy of the list”, which was prepared for the check-up by the SPS’ appointed medical service provider Parkway Shenton.
“The SPS is in the process of reaching out to the individuals on the list to inform them that their information has been disclosed illegally by Brochez,” said the SPS.
It added that it has worked with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide additional support to those who require it and investigations are ongoing.
Brochez was named by the ministry last month as the culprit behind a massive HIV registry leak containing confidential data of 14,200 HIV-positive individuals and 2,400 others who were identified through contact tracing.
He was previously in a relationship with Ler Teck Siang, 37, the former head of the MOH’s National Public Health Unit who oversaw the HIV registry.
The leaked data included the affected individuals’ names, identification numbers, contact details, HIV test results, and related medical information.
5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to January 2013 were listed in the leaked data, of whom 1,900 have passed away. 2,180 had been “successfully reached” by the MOH as of 1pm two days after the announcement of the breach.
The others were 8,800 foreigners – including work and visit pass applicants and holders – diagnosed with the disease up to December 2011.
In response to queries on whether the 13 HIV-positive individuals were part of those affected by the HIV registry leak, Singapore authorities declined to comment, citing ongoing police investigations.
Brochez has repeatedly denied his involvement in the leak and had detailed his allegations against the authorities in a lengthy interview with Vice News on Wednesday.
A series of posts repeating these claims was also put up on Facebook on the same day by a user claiming to be “Mikhy Brochez”, prompting the authorities to issue statements rebutting what they termed as “baseless claims” made by a “pathological liar”.
The Facebook profile was removed by the social media giant less than 24 hours later for violating its user policies.
Amongst Brochez’s allegations included being sexually assaulted in prison and contracting HIV while serving a 28-month sentence in Singapore for fraud and drug-related offences. He was deported from Singapore in April last year.
Brochez also claimed that Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist who treated him in prison, had given him a list of HIV-positive inmates and originally told him that he did not have HIV.
Dr Leong denied the allegations.
Brochez is believed to be currently on bail in his home country after being arrested for trespassing his mother’s home in Kentucky’s Clark County in December last year.
According to media reports, he has been ordered to appear before a district court on 18 February (US time) to face a third-degree criminal trespass charge.