/Former deputy lead of MOH data unit charged under Official Secrets Act with leaking Singapore’s COVID-19 case tally 22 times – CNA

Former deputy lead of MOH data unit charged under Official Secrets Act with leaking Singapore’s COVID-19 case tally 22 times – CNA

SINGAPORE: A woman charged in court on Wednesday (Apr 14) with leaking Singapore’s daily COVID-19 case numbers 22 times last year to a private group chat was the deputy lead of the Data Management Unit set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Zhao Zheng, 36, was the unit’s deputy lead at the time of the offences and an authorised recipient of confidential information on COVID-19. The police arrested her in April last year during the “circuit breaker” period for allegedly leaking the daily COVID-19 case numbers before they were officially released.

On Wednesday, Zhao was given 24 charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for wrongful communication of information that she had access to due to her position.

She was charged along with co-accused Tang Lin, also 36, who was given 10 charges under the OSA.

Tang is accused of soliciting wrongful communication of information by asking Zhao to help her check on the status of a patient who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Zhao is suspected of accessing a Government COVID-19 database to retrieve confidential records of a person who had tested positive for COVID-19, and giving the information to a friend, the police said.


A member of the public lodged a report on Apr 16 that the number of COVID-19 cases for that day had been published on an Instagram story post, even though MOH had not officially released its figures for the day.

Investigations found that Zhao had allegedly shared the figures on 22 occasions between March and April last year with members of a private chat group who were not authorised to receive the information, the police said on Tuesday.

Some of these members then further disseminated the information before it was officially released by MOH. Sixty-four other people who had wrongfully received or communicated the information will be given stern warnings or written advisories for offences under the OSA, the police added.

The police said they take a serious view of any breach of the OSA, which is punishable with up to two years’ jail and a fine of up to S$2,000.

“Unauthorised recipients should delete and not further circulate any confidential information received, as they may otherwise be similarly liable under the Official Secrets Act,” said the police.

The two women are the first to be charged among people who were arrested for leaking COVID-19-related information.

In June 2020, a 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of leaking classified information on the resumption of activities as part of Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening.