Singapore HIV data leak: Accused found guilty, will be sentenced in Sept

Mikhy Farrera Brochez
Mikhy Farrera Brochez YouTube grab

The Kentucky court on Tuesday, June 4 convicted the US citizen who was the accused in hacking personal information of thousands of Singaporean people from Singapore's HIV registry and later threatened the government to leak the data if it did not release his jailed gay partner.

After the court hearing, the 12 jury members announced their verdict against Mikhy Farrera Brochez. They found him guilty of 12 counts for transferring the registry's data to Kentucky and emailing online links to blackmail Singapore government. The convict will be sentenced in September.

The 34-year-old convict stated in his testimony that he was a whistleblower and wanted to close down a prejudicial and security-compromised registry.

It should be noted that the culprit of HIV data leak case was found guilty on several counts which include transmitting threats for extortion and illegally transferring the identification of another person.

However, his lawyer, Adele Brown mentioned that Brochez may serve a jail term between 18 to 24 months.

On January 28, the Ministry of Health had announced that Brochez leaked the personal details of 5,400 HIV-positive Singaporeans and 8,800 foreigners. The investigation also revealed that the Winchester resident also asked her mother, who lives in Kentucky, to upload those documents in 2016 and retrieved them in 2018.

As per the investigating officers from the FBI, they found data on several phones and laptops. They also added the Brochez uploaded sensitive information to a Google drive from which he sent links to Singapore government and media.

During the hearing, the defence prosecutor argued that her client didn't want to commit a crime, but was instead "trying to get justice."

Prior to this hearing, Deputy Director for Communicable Diseases in the Health Ministry, Dr Vernon Lee stated this data leak incident had triggered anxiety among the Singaporeans, as the affected individuals thought that they will lose their jobs or may face discrimination in the society.

While Lee stated that the registry is only used for public health purposes, the convict, who lived in the Republic for 10 years, mentioned that it was not secure and contained unnecessary information which may trigger the misuse of discrimination against the HIV-positive.

Authorities also said that Brochez actually forged his degree in psychology from the University of Paris as well as other details. He also faced a jail sentence in 2017 on fraud-related charges.

However, Brochez's partner, Ler Teck Siang had access to the HIV registry as the former head of a National Public Health Unit and faced a jail term in November 2018 for his involvement in connection with the data leak case.

The 37-year-old doctor is currently facing a trial for his alleged involvement in selling illegal drug injections to customers when other criminal proceedings against him were ongoing.

Brochez's partner had been charged in June 2016 for abetting him to cheat the Ministry of Manpower so he could work in Singapore. He is also facing two charges in the trail that include trafficking methamphetamine to a man at a hotel room on February 26, 2018, and possessing drug utensils.